The Parish of Sandal Magna

Coming Home


By the time you read this we will know whether England are in the Final or have even won the World Cup! That would be amazing, but even if they haven't, the players have showed tremendous character in their performance. They have worked as a team and enjoyed being together, building bonds which have served them well under pressure.

For that, a great deal of credit must go to the manager, Gareth Southgate, who has set the tone of relaxed confidence and generous encouragement. Little things add up to create a healthy team culture. 
There are no superstars like Ronaldo for Messi on whom everyone relies. There is a mutual respect and a willingness to work for one another. At mealtimes, the squad put their smart phones away so that they can enjoy each other's company. There is a great deal of fair play with few bookings, unlike some of their opponents who have sought to wrestle them and commit repeated niggling fouls. Their temperament has been commendable.

In their manager, they have a great role model. Southgate played in the semi-final at the European Championship of 1996, when he missed a crucial penalty. He has learnt much from that experience, and generously offered commiserations to the Colombian player who missed a penalty, before celebrating with his players.

There's a lot to learn about leadership and building a team dynamic. Perhaps the greatest person to have done that with his small team of disciples was Jesus Christ. He assembled a motley crew of fishermen, tax collectors, rebels and outsiders, and forged them into a world changing team. His teaching and training was exceptional; his humility and grace under pressure was exemplary; his focussed sense of purpose and willingness to make the greatest sacrifice for us all was life-saving.

As we enjoy the ups and downs of sport, we can see that it is more than just good technique and training; it involves inspiring people to do their best together and create memorable shared experiences, whether you win or lose. Sport is not just a physical discipline, it has a mental and spiritual dimension, which is why it is so enjoyable and inspiring take part in or to watch.
And finally, the song, 'Football’s coming home' has been fun to sing, but it also points to a great truth that coming home to where we belong is a vital part of life’s journey. Jesus' story of the Prodigal Son is about coming home to the love of the Father, and not trying to live life on his own.

In this issue of Grapevine, we celebrate a great team of 11 folk who were recently baptised and/or confirmed. Their stories of how they have come home to God are truly inspirational.


Rupert




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