For sports fans, this summer should be a memorable one. The delayed Euro 2020 tournament starts this weekend with home nations England, Wales and Scotland all in action. The Tour de France gets going on 26th June. Wimbledon, which we missed last summer, returns on 28th June. There is a packed schedule of international cricket from the inaugural Hundred tournament, to T20s and a five-Test series versus India. We all hope the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games go ahead in Tokyo from the 23rd July onwards. In Rugby Union there is South Africa versus The British and Irish Lions Test series starting on 24th July. Before long the club football seasons will be starting in August, and with it the chance to see our local team Brentford take on the country’s elite for the first time in the Premier League.
Does our faith as Christians have anything to do with a passion for sports? The answer is yes. The satisfaction and joy of spectating, competing and winning are God-given. The unique bodies, capacities and personalities we have received allow us to explore and enjoy God’s world. Sports can help us understand our journeys of faith too. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul writes “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Christians in Sport (CiS) is a Christian charity that is passionate about this link between faith and sports, and they will be busy this summer! They work with sportspeople at grassroots through to elite levels and alongside supporters, officials and competitors. CiS began 45 years ago this month, on the eve of the 1976 Wimbledon Tennis Championship. A number of people from the world of professional tennis collaborated to set up the charity, including 1972 Wimbledon Champion Stan Smith. CiS describe themselves in this way: “For us, sport is more than a game. It’s about who God made us to be. Our mission is to reach the world of sport for Christ.” You can find out more about CiS, how to pray for and support their work as well as resources (including regular newsletters and podcasts) at www.christiansinsport.org.uk