St Michael’s 6th August 2017
Reading: Revelation 7
Were any of you at Home Park last season when Argyle won promotion? What was the atmosphere like?
This morning, whether you support Argyle or not, I want you to imagine you are in the crowd at a match where your favourite team are winning. You are there shoulder with shoulder with your fellow supporters, cheering as the goals go in, and counting down to the final whistle. Very soon the referee will blow up and the celebrations will begin.
Naturally your attention is on the pitch – but just take a moment to glance at the fans around you. Most of them have been supporting the team for a long time, so what are they likely to be wearing? That’s right, football shirts with the names of their favourite players. And what are they likely to be holding in their hands above their heads? To them, nothing is more important in that moment than the fact they are members of the Green Army, and they want to be identified as such. That’s why they are wearing the shirt and waving their scarves in their hands. And why are they on their feet and singing? Of course – they want to praise their team and celebrate their achievements. The last home game of the season I even saw a few fans bowing down to the players as they did their victory lap.
However, yesterday the new season opened. No-one knows where Argyle will be in the league next May. Maybe the last game of the coming season there will be a glum silence around the ground, or even a chorus of boos. Maybe a few fans – politely, of course – will be asking the manager to reconsider his position or the chairman to quit.
In our world, as we know all too well, winners can easily become losers. A successful team one year can sometimes go down the following year. But in heaven the situation is very different. The people there will be celebrating a victory that is permanent and forever. No-one will be facing the prospect of going down to the other place – and I don’t mean League Two.