As I sit and write this, the date is Saturday 19th May and the clock on the wall says 2.10pm, and I realise that, as a church minister, I am in a no-win situation. In less than an hour’s time, Hibs will be playing Hearts in the Scottish cup Final. All morning there has been a steady exodus of cars heading west, containing either green and white or maroon clad football zealots of all ages. Whoever wins the cup, by tomorrow morning half of my congregation will be feeling dejected, and the other half delirious. The only thing that keeps me smiling is the knowledge that, in time, everyone who made that pilgrimage to Hampden Park , whichever side they supported, will have been glad that they were not alone.
This is something I’ve come to realise from supporting the Scottish national rugby team. Over the years, and especially since the beginning of the ‘professional’ era, we haven’t won many games. We joke about it. We say it means we’re much better at coping with losing, or, when we occasionally do win, that our joy is much greater. All this is true, but the thing I’ve noticed time and time again is that it’s much better to watch the game at Murrayfield than to watch it on the tele at home. Why? Because, win or lose, you know that you’re not going to be alone!
This summer, here at Liberton, we’re going to be looking at what it means to be a follower of Jesus. For the six weeks, beginning on the first Sunday in July, we are going to be looking at this through the eyes of Paul in his letter to the Philippians. Being a follower of Jesus also involves highs and lows, but whether its times of joy or whether it’s times of struggle, the same thing holds true – you’re not his only follower, and you don’t have to face them on your own. So, whether by joining us here on a Sunday, or by joining a local church on holiday, make sure that you find some good company. The love of God made known in Jesus is too big to enjoy on your own.