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St Johns Southgate

08 Sep 2016

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Join a true community

There’s something truly magical about singing your football team’s song after they’ve won a big game at the MCG. The most thrilled I’ve ever been to sing my team’s song was back in 1998.

It was round 21 at the MCG and the Dees were playing Sydney. If we won this one, we would definitely – no matter what – be in the finals for the first time in a long time. The siren sounded and the red and blue had done it! After languishing at the bottom of the ladder for so long we were back.

That night at the MCG it was one of those occasions when after the game you were allowed onto the hallowed turf. I distinctly remember belting out the club song, then hearing the second siren sound as an indication that permission was granted to set foot on the sacred surface.

As soon as I heard the blast I jumped over the fence and ran as fast as I could into the centre circle. As I got there another Melbourne fan running in from the other side of the ground arrived. Instinctively we threw our arms around each other and fell to the ground in a spontaneous embrace.

It’s an amazing thing how footy can bring people together. People you’ve never met before, if they’re wearing the right colours, can become your best friends. But in actual fact, regardless of which team you go for, footy brings all fans together because without the different teams there is no competition!

As controversial as it may sound, Carlton fans need Collingwood fans. They need each other because without them they wouldn’t have that sense of history and rivalry and so on.

In Aussie rules, though there are many clubs they do come together as a single team, because in the end it’s only together that it all works – that footy becomes something special. In the same way, we as human beings need each other. As diverse as we are, we need each other to form community. We can’t be islands. If we try to be we’ll soon find ourselves washed away by the tide. We need connectedness. We need to be joined together as the one continent to be complete.

The Christian imagery of God’s people forming a single body – the body of Christ – and each person being a connected member of that body, speaks to our need for interpersonal connection. For a body to remain alive and functioning it needs a neck, it needs lungs and it needs a heart.

During the footy season we occasionally get glimpses of our interconnectedness within and without our tribal affiliations. But the Christian church offers a place where all people can come together to rejoice in diversity and interdependence at any time of the year.

The church seeks to be a true community, where every person is valued and recognised as a necessary contributor to the whole. If you’re looking to connect, looking to find community, consider the church. You might even get a kick out of singing the song with the team.

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