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Saturday, 8 January 2011

Heroes????

The headline merely stated what I have heard on news programmes over the last couple of days: "Barmy Ashes party for fans and cricket heroes".  Yes, in case there was anyone who was unaware of the fact, the English cricket team managed an apparently four-times-a-century victory over Australia, to win the Ashes trophy.

Actually, I have been confused about the whole series!  Five matches in total but, after having drawn one, lost one, and won two (i.e. a total of four) we were being informed that the Ashes had been retained!  What would have happened if Australia had won the fifth test?  My simple maths would have made that a draw!  Explanations, please, as comments!

But what is this silly business of referring to a bunch of cricket-bat-wielding sportsmen as 'heroes'?  How nonsensical can reporters and journalists be?  What is heroic about winning a sporting competition?  Commendable, perhaps; even inspiring (especially in events such as the Paralympics); but heroic?!!!

All that the use of such a word, in this context, does is to devalue it when it is applied to those who truly deserve it.  I think of those members of the Royal Logistic Corps who regularly risk - and, sadly, sometimes lose - their lives defusing Improvised Explosive Devices in Afghanistan; I think of firefighters, going into blazing buildings to rescue a fellow human being; I think of the volunteer members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, heading out to sea, in atrocious conditions, to save the lives of those in peril.

Those, and many others like them, are worthy of the description 'heroes' - not a bunch of cricketers who will doubtless now be the focus of advertising companies who will pay them handsomely to front the ad for some item of sportswear.

I think, too, of a hill called Calvary where, almost 2,000 years ago, on a Roman cross, a man voluntarily gave His life - not just for one or two, or even for a whole squad, but for all of mankind.  And He did so, not just to save their physical lives, but to give them the opportunity of eternal life - the very life of God, here and now.  He was, of course, Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son, the promised Messiah, Whose incarnation many of us celebrated just a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, just as I have the right to walk ahead of the bomb disposal expert (and get myself blown up); or to insist that I remain in the burning room when the firefighter arrives to rescue me; or go down with my boat in a raging storm when the lifeboat is alongside; so I have the right to reject the salvation that is offered through Jesus, the greatest Hero of them all.

Except that the latter is infinitely more foolish than the rest!

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