Jesus is a Cricket Fan?

28/07/09 | Posted by Poppy

The third test in the current ashes seris starts on Thursday. I can wave goodbye to any conversation with my boys and husband until it finishes but before they withdraw from all contact they have challenged me to find a connection between Jesus and Cricket.

 You’re Out

Last year there was a small flurry of newspaper reports over a translation of an Armenian Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus, which dates from the 6th century but is based on an older but lost original. In this bit of ancient writing there is a passage that describes Jesus playing a bat and ball game similar to cricket. He had the advantage of his playmates in that he could nip out over the lake to retrieve the ball as he could walk on water. This sort of gospel is a bit like modern fan literature where Buffy or Dr Who fans write their own stories to fill up the gaps in the Joss Whedon or Russel Davies’ narrative arc. But who knows, maybe there were bat and ball games in the first century and maybe Jesus played them.

I was brought up on the cricketing outfield as my father and then my brother were very keen club cricketers. My childhood was full of long boring afternoons waiting for the rain to stop so that play could resume or trying to make a cricket tea for fifty out of five loaves of bread of sliced bread and a couple of packets of value cheese. As a result I do understand the rules of cricket and can score if I’m bribed with enough good quality gin.

So a connection between Jesus and cricket.

Cricket is just like the life of Jesus. It is very simple.

In cricket you have to hit the ball as far as possible and making sure that the fielding side don’t catch it. Then you run between the wickets and don’t get yourself or your fellow batsman run out. Simple eh? Of course there are loads of frilly bits and complicated rules about silly mid offs and night watchmen and googlies but at it’s heart it is about whacking the ball as far and as fast as possible. The rules are facinating of course but without a good thwack of bat and ball nothing much happens!

Jesus message is equally simple. God so loved the world that he sent his only son into the world so that the relationship between God and mankind could be healed. He did this because he loved humankind and he loves each and everyone of us. By looking at the life of Jesus we can see God. All the stuff about churches and denominations is an added extra. Important yes, but which way the altar faces or who is allowed in the sanctuary or the right hymns for the right season is all frilly stuff. Jesus as a real man at a historical moment in time is what is important.

So as England attempts to retain the ashes in 2009 it is worth remembering that even the most complicated and strategic game has core skills just as any complicated religion has a core message.

And if rain stops play - and the rain is hammering down as I write - why not have a look at some of the modules to the right of this blog and look for the core message of Jesus - of love come down.


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