Viewpoint from Pastor Bertie Nysschen for 3/08/12
Pastor Bertie de Nysschen
Minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
For the Gt Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Norwich and King’s Lyinn areas
There seemed to be a fair amount of looking up amongst some of the tennis players during the matches played at Wimbledon this yea
r. Now it could just be that in previous years I was looking down at my strawberries and cream too often to notice any one looking up and I must confess that the price and quality of the strawberries had no attraction for me this year.
So, back to the tennis stars. Why look up at the sky after the expected or unexpected victory? There was even a fair amount of looking up during the matches.
As a Christian, I found it quite heart warming because I instinctively took it for granted that there must be some connection with God at that moment of victory or alternatively just seeking a bit of help from Him in the game.
On the other hand the cynical and sceptic would rather see it simply as a good way of relaxing the neck muscles, or a brief concentration on something outside the intensity of the game that could enhance re-focussing. For the confessed sun-worshiper, no doubt, it would be a distinct adoration of the venerable sun as the source of life and energy. For the worshiper of the spirits of the forefathers it would be the appreciation of their looking down in love at that moment. And for others who confess some unknown higher power it could mean an acknowledgement of that infusing power.
I seem to remember Roger Federer in his post match speech actually thanking God for his victory at Wimbledon in one of his early if not his first victory. On that occasion the interviewer and the live media seemed to have one of those ‘senior moments’ for a second or two before gathering themselves together again as if th
e statement was never made. And I am sure you could direct me to many other sports men and women who have done the same.
I remember watching Television when Tony Blair was asked about his beliefs, and his former spin doctor Alistair Campbell stepped in and famously declared ‘we don’t do God’. After his semi-final victory this year one of the reporters asked Andy Murray what he was doing and thinking when he was looking up to the sky with his fingers pointing upwards. He carefully did not go down that road by choosing not to answer the question. So we will probably never really know why players like him and even Novak Djokovic have been looking up.
As a Christian, when the ‘strawberries and cream’ of this old world no longer have any attraction, I am reminded of the words of Jesus when the disciples asked him what the signs of the end were, and His encouragement to them was: ‘When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because redemption is drawing near.’ Luke 21:28 NIV.
But at the same time I am very concerned, that even though we may find ourselves looking up, it may be that we are finding ourselves too ashamed to say why. Have the pressures of society and political correctness become the measure of man? It was again Jesus who said: ‘If any one is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.‘ Luke 9:26