By Sophie Otiende, Kenya
There is no doubt that soccer is the most popular sport of our time. From Africa to Asia and even the Middle East, soccer fans are widespread all across the world. The differences in culture, race, religion and opinions are dissolved when fans unite and cheer for their team. Just watch the World Cup and fans will show you the true meaning of being in unison.
Being a big soccer fan, I have to admit that it is that sense of belonging that I hunger for and that always keeps me going back. When I am cheering my team, I truly belong. I don’t struggle with anyone or anything (maybe just the opposing team) because at that occasion nothing counts, not what my neighbor is wearing, not what race they are, not what they did yesterday. What counts at that moment is the game.
However, I firmly believe that our cause in the body of Christ is much larger than a soccer game. It gives rise to a serious question, “Why is it that soccer seems to have the ability to unite man more than Christ?”
In the final hours of Jesus’ life, He spent time in prayer. He offered a heartfelt prayer for His people as recorded in John 17. Why was He so urgent? What is so vital that Jesus felt He had to pray for us in the last very painful hours of His life, when frankly He should have been praying for Himself? The answer is simple, UNITY.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus knew the importance of unity in the body because any division among believers would undermine the church’s testimony to the world. In these last days, the Christian body face many problems that stem from a lack of unity.
What makes unity possible? In soccer, the simple answer is focus. In the stadium, our focus is the game at hand. I think focus is what we have lost in the church.
We have forgotten what our main cause ought to be. We forgot that it is not, it has never been, and it will never be about us. This walk is about Christ. Church is about Him. Yet many times we lose focus of Christ and we find ourselves in much discord.
As we look upon soccer, we realize that our unity is only as strong as we are when focused. My prayer is that when we get to church, my name as a Christian should count, not my race neither what I did or did not do. What should matter at all times is for what reason are we gathered and the answer is plain and simple: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is LOVE.