Still Dreaming...

On Sunday evening I had a wonderful time watching the final of the Euros… right up until England lost on penalties of course! Like most people, I had long since started getting carried away with the idea that football was (this time) coming home. And the fantastic song was on my lips just as much as anyone else’s –

Three lions on a shirt, Jules Rimet’s still gleaming
Thirty years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming…

Of course, although it was ‘only’ thirty years of hurt between the triumph of the 1966 World Cup and the near miss of the 1996 Euros (for which the song was first released) it is now many more years of hurt and disappointment. The dream lives on though, and next year there’s a World Cup to be won…

That being said, some things are far more important than football, and some dreams are far more important than sporting success.

As a preacher, one of the most inspiring and iconic talks I have ever heard was that given by Martin Luther King Jr., in what has come to be known as his “I have a dream” speech.

In the bitter aftermath of England’s exit, a minority of so-called ‘supporters’ subjected a number of England players to online racist abuse. I can only begin to imagine the distress this caused those players, their friends and families and the whole England setup. In some way, it will have distressed us all – except the racists themselves of course.

I want to ask and plead with you to pray against and speak out against racism whenever you can, and to show love and support to anyone who has suffered from it. Let’s not get political here, let’s just agree that racism is an evil that needs to be kicked right out of our society.

I for one am still dreaming of a trophy-winning England team that reflects the wonderful multi-cultural nature of our country. Much, much more than that though, I’m still dreaming that dream of MLK’s, in which we, and our children, are judged not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character.

Simon Lace, 15/07/2021