More Viewpoint articles from past issues of the Presbyterian Standard are available online here.
UR generation must surely have lost its way when a mere recreation or
amusement takes on all the trappings of a religion. So it is with
'sport'. This 'idol' now has millions of disciples in our land, meeting
at many sites to take part in elaborate rituals which are like a
secular parody of religious worship.
The participants are divided into a sort of 'clergy' and 'laity'. The
latter gather in congregations at least once a week, often in large
stadia, leaving their (costly) offerings at the entrance. For a time
they are absorbed as the rite unfolds. Carefully chosen 'priests'
perform the sacrifice on a stage set before the faithful, who offer
their praise appropriately. For this service the celebrants are treated
almost as though they were gods - and in some cases the very well-being
of the worshippers seems to hang on how they perform.
Perhaps it is not all so new. In ancient Greece the plain of Olympia
was the scene of the famous Games, revived last century. Mount Olympus
in mythology was the abode of the twelve principal Greek gods. Have
history and myth got mixed up somehow, one wonders?
What surely is new is the willingness of today's professing Christians
not only to follow sport but also to consider it as a suitable career,
a profession, a calling to rank alongside teaching, medicine, politics
or industry as something that might be done to the glory of God and
which is worthy of remuneration.
We have lost count of the prominent sportsmen and women who are claimed
by gullible souls as examples of faith to admire, even to emulate. What
sort of fruit do we often see in them however?
We see a readiness to accept the status of a false hero or 'star', with
fame, fortune and the devotion of one's fellow-creatures. But is this
in harmony with a truly self-effacing, humble lifestyle? Is this to
follow Him who is "meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29)?
We find little or no conscience regarding the Sabbath, of which Christ
is Lord (Mark 2:28). It is not a day to be shared between the Redeemer
and recreations. Shame on all those who wilfully profane His holy day
with their 'sport'!
We witness an unhealthy fellowship with the world and its ways to which
we are in danger of being conformed again. It is obvious that "evil
communications corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33).
A better testimony to our generation would not be to the virtue of professional sport but rather to its utter vanity.