The scene looked too familiar. People angry, pushing against barriers, screaming for reform. Police trying to hold the line, attempting to bring order, to no avail.
They rushed onto a field, screaming to oust a certain person.
Then they kicked a soccer ball around.
Because they could.
This past weekend in the UK, a much anticipated soccer game was postponed because of of a protest by the fans against the owner of Manchester United Soccer team.
Our whole family is rather enthralled by the English Premier League. Everyone has picked favorite teams even though none of us have ever seen any of these teams play in person. Except for one daughter and her husband who managed to see a Manchester Untied game while in England.
The upheaval was a response to the Glazers, American owners of Manchester Untied who had planned on becoming part of a European Super League, where the purpose was more profits for club owners and less opportunity for fans to see and be part of their beloved games.
The fans want greater involvement in the day-to-day running of the club. The Glazers bought the club about fifteen years ago and haven’t given interviews or addressed the concerns of the fans.
The people just want to be heard. And have their support for their team valued.
Everybody wants to have a voice. To be heard and respected, that what we have to say is important. Professional sports are a big deal because of the huge fan base for individual teams. The fans are the substance of the game; they follow and connect with who and what they love.
Without the fans, playing sports is just another job.
If owners and coaches are unwilling to listen to those who pay to watch these teams play, interest will wane, attendance will drop, and the beautiful game won’t look so pretty.
We all have a gripe. Something that pushes us to say something that may not be received well but releases a little angst in our souls. The problem escalates when our attitudes, demands, and actions infringe on others’ space or personal beliefs or feelings.
That will always happen. We each have our limits of what we feel we can handle. Once that limit is surpassed, we fall into stress, despair, anger, and disruption.
We don’t live in individual bubbles where we’re protected from what we don’t like. Our lives collide with others, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Rather than react in anger, wouldn’t it be amazing to engage in conversation to try and see issues from the perspectives of others?
Jesus called us to think more of others than we do ourselves, which is humility. Humility isn’t flashy. It means we become fans of people in general, supporting others even if they’re different from us.
Jesus impressed people because He listened to them. He took the time to hear what they had to say, responding with kindness.
Imagine what it would feel like to really be heard. To know your voice mattered.
It does to God.