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Rugbyism

On March 19th, Wales’s rugby team won the Grand Slam. That is, they had defeated England – the world champions, Italy, France, Scotland, and finally now, Ireland. The scenes around and in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the capital city, were tremendous. Although the stadium holds seventy-five thousand, there were over a hundred and forty thousand packed into the city centre. It seemed that every man, woman and child were wearing the red jerseys of Wales. There were a few thousand of the green-clad Irish supporters, but they were swallowed up in a sea of red.

The atmosphere was electric. Indeed the whole of Wales was revitalised on the day, and especially after victory. You needed to be present in the nation to experience tangibly the joy, the tears and the singing. Youngsters, when they are old, will say of that day, “I was there.”

Tragically rugby, the national sport, has ousted religion, and indeed has become a religion itself. The stars are the popular sporting ecclesiastics. But from reading and having talked to old saints now departed, a similar atmosphere was prevalent in the days of revival. But, of course, it was a spiritual emotion, giving a prevailing sense of joy, awe and praise that permeated the soul of a nation. The red that Wales then identified with was the blood of Christ and His victory on Calvary. Spiritual blessing has now been swapped for temporal, and it is only the exceeding mighty power of God can reverse it. Oh, friend, look not on the things that are seen, but on those that are unseen.