In a week where we had multiple murders the Rugby Test match in Australia came as a welcome relief. It would have been better if Ireland won but with all the wins in recent years perhaps we needed to realise we are not infallible!
For the pundits the scoreline was 18 – 9 with both sides having tries disallowed thanks to camera technology. What seemed an advance for the game has now reached new heights with the TMO (the match official) in one query referring to the pictures on camera number 7.
The all seeing eyes of the camera record incidents both on and off the ball on one occasion – it reminded me of Hebrews Chapter 4 verse 13 – “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”.
All other games drive the ball/slither forward striving to reach the opponents goal. What makes rugby unique is the rule that the ball must be passed back to the players behind you while you make every effort to progress forward. Natural instincts to pass forward must be curbed and progress forward must be made through a wall of opposing players all equally determined to secure the ball and take it over the try line at your end of the pitch.
And crossing the line proved to be enormously difficult in today’s match. Australia had the edge over Ireland as they achieved it twice. It should be added that we did also cross the line twice but both attempts were disallowed.
Crossing the line is an expression now commonly used to indicate the moving through a boundary. Politicians talk about something being a red line issue by which they mean that crossing it will bring severe consequences. In Christian circles the expression is sometimes used to denote a move into Christ. Once Christ was a distant historical figure but now a decision has been made to look into the matter.
A line has been crossed, the will is now inclined towards Christ. We are no longer spectators but have become participators. We have taken up Philip’s invitation to Nathanael when Jesus was recruiting his team of disciples; “Come and see”. When he looked into it his scepticism “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” changed and he became a follower of Christ (St John Chapter 1 verse 46).
The crossing of the line is best seen in marriage. The initial attraction is followed by many hours together leading to a falling into love. As knowledge of each other increases so the desire to be together grows stronger. The culmination comes in “will you take this man/woman” when you confirm your belief with active participation – “I will”. To never reach that point makes you spectators of your own beliefs. In fact, you are probably not in love at all: you are simply playing irresponsibly with a profound relationship.
The day of grace is still on – Jesus is still calling his followers from every type of background. He has revealed himself to us in scripture, he is not put off by our lack of understanding or our sins – he knows us and loves us. Will we respond to his “follow me” with “I will”?