Friday, 4 November 2011

All change

Photo credit: Coconut85/Wikipedia (Hernandez in his Mexico strip - couldn't bring myself to use a United shot)

I was watching the highlights of the Everton v Man United game on Match of the Day last Saturday when something commentator Guy Mowbray said caught me completely by surprise.

Evra had just supplied a superb ball into the box, providing an easy tap in for Javier Hernandez (Chicharito). It was practically unmissable (unless you’re Fernando Torres, that is).

Following the goal, the young Mexican ran away, slapping the hands of his teammates in celebration. And then he did something we quite often see foreign players do; he lifted his hands heavenwards and thanked God.

This was encouraging to see, but it isn’t what made me jump. It was Guy Mowbray’s comment on the striker’s simple act of thanksgiving that did.

The commentator simply said: “Prayers answered. Thank you for the cross.”

Now I’m not too na├»ve to realise that he was attempting to voice Hernandez’s feelings and that the “cross” he referred to was Evra’s and not the one on which Jesus died. But it was a great bit of unintentional evangelism none-the-less.

This reminded me of a time a few years ago on the London underground. I was nearly at my destination when I heard some equally startling words. The voice over the intercom blurted: “Kings Cross. All change at Kings Cross.”

These words had a similar effect on me. It was truer than the announcer could possibly have realised! When Jesus, the king of kings, died on the cross, everything – and I mean everything – changed. Forever.

But that’s not it. The “all change” was significant too. To me it reflected the fact that everyone who approaches the cross of Christ can be transformed; our lives can be turned upside down and inside out (in a good way). And the best news is that this change is not just long-lasting; it’s eternal.

Now I’m not suggesting God is using subliminal messages to speak to us through football commentary or tube announcements – although there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. But it’s interesting that even in the most secular of settings, God’s word is inadvertently filtering through.

Maybe it will eventually touch the hearts of some of London’s toughest commuters and even the most debaucherous footballers. I’m not holding my breath over some of the England squad, but everything is possible with God!

Read more football-related content in the next issue of Sorted magazine.

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