Pastor's Desk - Of Cricket and Lent

Feb 04, 2024

What do these two Topics Really have in Common?

Let us see. Everyone on the planet, familiar with the king’s sport of cricket, should not have missed the greatest news of this leap year to-date - an unknown, inexperienced West Indian team, beat the great Aussies in a test match in their own backyard, after a drought of nearly three decades! The star of this great feat was a young security guard from Guyana, who showed tremendous skill and promise. Even in an injured state, his performance was not diminished. This was indeed a major surprise.

While we celebrate the sterling contribution of Shamar Joseph, we must acknowledge the fact that both teams experienced some surprises. Australia went into the match beaming with a lot of confidence, having won the first test of the two-test series and no doubt, figuring that they would have finished off the West Indies easily, even if they cruised. On the other hand, the West Indies, being the underdogs, had nothing to lose – in a manner of speaking - having been losers to this powerful team for the last 27 years. So, with a young inexperienced bowler, capped with an unkind comment that the West Indies team was “pathetic and hopeless” by Hogg (no pun intended), Captain Braithwaite was inspired to prove him wrong. The outcome - the team surprised themselves, the Australians, and the world!!!
(Rodney Hogg is a former Australian bowler).

What do we observe here? The success of the West Indies team did not depend solely on the new bowler, but ,was the result of a great team effort. With good fielding from his colleagues who took good catches from balls which were carelessly hit, the visitors achieved the success they realized.

Lessons for Lent

So, what lessons can we learn from cricket that we can take into Lent? Without a doubt, team effort stands out for me. Very often we approach Lent, and the observation of Lent, as the practice of individual, spiritual discipline.

We think of discipleship (following the ways of Christ). We think of maintaining or observing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting and alms giving. But we are inclined to believe that these are practices one should do alone.

What if believers were to consider practicing Lent as a collaborative effort (team) - with the principle that if one succeeds, all succeed??? What if believers were to practice the discipline of prayer, in small group???

What difference would it make if persons were to hold each other accountable in the practice of fasting and almsgiving??? The point being made is that there is much more to be accomplished in intentional teamwork, because we want it to happen and happen well. Not just because it is legislated, but because we all see the value of ensuring that everyone receives the benefit to be gained from partnering with one another.

Let us remind ourselves that Jesus invited his disciples to be with him (Mk.3:14). There were many things he could not have done alone, and he needed their company. He sent out the disciples in groups of twos, and he cited the value of having two witnesses present to aid in settlement of a dispute. There is value and strength in teamwork.

What is your plan for Lent? What are you praying for? What would you like to change through fasting? Who can you share your gifts with?

As you think of your responses, may I suggest that you partner with a fellow believer in pursuing these goals? Find someone with whom you can be mutually accountable. Let’s say you’re praying/fasting to manage gossip, lust, digital addiction, or anger. Why not find a peer with whom you can heal and grow together? You don’t want to end Lent struggling with the same problem which has been a burden to you.

So, there are lessons we can learn from cricket and Lent. In the words of the late Helen Keller...

“Alone we can do so little,
together we can do so much!”

Success is still a team effort, find your support and celebrate!
Your Pastor