It’s the time of year when many of the big football questions will be answered. Who will be Premier League Champions (more or less sorted out yesterday), who will play in the Champions League, who will be relegated (still wide open) and for us in South Wales the crucial question of who will be promoted through the play offs?
The tension is all too much for many as watching the mighty Bluebirds must be more stressful than watching any other club. From memory, City missed the play offs two years ago after dropping to seventh place in the table after the last game, having the same points as the team that pipped them and even the same goal difference but having scored one less goal through the whole season. The heart break continued last year as City won through to the play off final (regarded as the most important game in the world in terms of prize money), and actually led the game twice before eventually loosing to Blackpool.
One thing is certain, if City make it to the promised land of the Premiership, there will be plenty of celebration. People who have never spoken will embrace and shake hands, grown men will dance for joy and there will be smiles in place scowls.
I’ve been thinking about joy and celebration after seeing the video of the cartwheeling Verger. After the royal wedding, when the cameras were supposed to be off, one of the Abbey staff was caught doing a cartwheel of joy down the famous aisle. According to Crammer (who is in correspondence with the Dean), there is no truth in media reports that the Verger was chastened for his gymnastics. The Verger was just expressing his joy after the very high pressure event, viewed by two billion people on TV had gone so well.
When we think of our own state as believers, we too should celebrate. If people can celebrate when a football team wins something or a service goes well, how much more should we? God loves us, he sent his son who has died in our place, and risen from the grave in victory over sin and death. He has given his Holy Spirit, he has a plan for our lives and has promised an eternity in his presence.
“But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 35:9-10)
The bible states that we are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). I know that can mean a deep joy even in the midst of a trial but there must be some evidence of joy in our lives. To say we have deep joy while simultaneously wearing an expression that resembles a bulldog kissing a wasp doesn’t really cut it.
So perhaps we should take a leaf out of the good Verger’s book and perform a cartwheel, dance, sing or shout for joy, we certainly have cause for celebration.