I like rugby. Many of you may not know that the Rugby World Cup is currently on. The final will pit England against South Africa.

When I was a boy I played a bit of rugby and did not find it extraordinary that we did not wear pads or helmets. It did not seem unusual that the game often kept on going for minutes without a break. It felt right to be able to lateral the ball back to a team mate or kick it forward and still be able to play on.

There is something about rugby that grips me. Maybe because it seems to be such a gritty, real, blue collar sport. Men in mud. Men in a scrum. Men determined to go forward to get to a goal line. By the way, they have to touch the ball down for it to be a try (score) and it is from that point that they have to kick the "extra point." No moving it to right in front of the goal post for a "point after." That would be too easy.

Rugby. No one is calling in plays. No one is trying to gain just a few yards to get a first down. They are going for the goal line with all they have. At the end of it all they are men exhausted. Spent.

Church life can be a bit like rugby. The clock does not stop often. We are often just going back and forth. Often we do not get to a goal and set the ball down. Back and forth. Back and forth. Scrum. Kick. Lateral. Back and forth. Some mud, some blood and alot of grass stains.

As I reflect, it should not seem unusual that there are no pads, no helmets, and we will get a bit messy. Real church does that. We are called to be spent for the cause and not to shy away from the reality of the pain of others. The good news is we have brothers and sisters we can lateral our needs to for help and encouragement.

And as we plod along here together, I think it good to remember that Christ is our victory, even in the darkness of the scrum or the bone crunching tackle of an opponent.