Rugby or Christianity?

A few days ago the Guardian carried an article on Euan Murray, the Scottish international rugby player, who is making a remarkable stand – he refuses to play on a Sunday and would rather spend the day enjoying the Lord. As a result he missed Scotland’s opening match against France in Paris last weekend. (One cannot help but make comparisons with the great Eric Liddell who withdrew from the 100m sprint final at the Paris Olympics in 1924 for the same reason – he would not race on a Sunday.) In the midst of the interview, Murray gives this marvelous illustration of what Christ has done for him:

In finding God, he says, Murray was able to change his path. He picks up a mug of tea and a glass of water and holds them out in front of him. “This is the tea, all dirty and horrible, this is me, yeah? That’s Jesus,” he says, motioning to the water. “Pure. He’s taken that filth upon himself and before God he says, ‘Punish me for it’. He’s been punished and look what he’s given me. That perfect goodness in the eyes of God. He’s declared me innocent.” He swills the dregs of the tea and smiles. Can it be that simple? “I’m ashamed of the things I’ve done. Of course I am. But I’m thankful I have a saviour. He’s saved me from that lifestyle. He’s given me a new life.”

If you want to understand why he is willing to make a stand on the matter of the ‘Christian Sabbath’, a matter totally baffling to the modern world and increasingly to Christians, you have to understand how his eyes have been opened to the wonder of the saving work of Christ on the cross for him.

We need more of this spirit in our midst – a willingness to take a stand on the matter of the Lord’s day. It’s a day for rest, worship, fellowship. As well as a command, it is a gift God grants to us. It is to be a delight.

But I am also sure of this – if we do not get the cross, if the majesty, the power, the wisdom of it does not truly grip us and we are not changed by it, then we will never get the Sabbath. Our hearts by definition will be elsewhere and we will find other things to fill the day, while at the same time grumpily asking ourselves and others, “Why do I have to go to worship? Why should I spend time with the Lord? Why shouldn’t I do some work? Why not…? Why…? Why?”

Euan Murray has his head screwed on. Not a flabby, soft, comfy-jumper, ‘gelly Christian, but a true Christian man who is fighting the good fight and standing firm. We need more like him…

… and for the record, Scotland lost.

(HT: Martin Downes for the link)

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Rugby or Christianity?