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Getting your message across a sign of the times

A sign that is often seen in the crowd at major sporting events around the world.

Watching some of the games of the Rugby World Cup in France over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been particularly interested in the sea of colour in the stands from the various replica team shirts worn by fans to show their support.

Some shirts have even had the name and team number of their favourite player. There have also been plenty of banners, but there has been one missing. But more of that later.

Among the national flags, there have also been some that show the name of the rugby club that they support locally or even their favourite bar.

At club level, certainly in football, fans have been used to getting their message across by making bespoke banners. Some to show their dissatisfaction with the club owners and some to suggest that the manager should get the sack. So, banners can be a powerful medium to get a message across, and not just in sport.

Time was that if you were watching a sporting event on television, be it football, rugby or even Formula 1 and you were eagle-eyed, you would spot someone holding a banner that simply said ‘John 3:16’.

Many must have wondered what it meant. Imagine their surprise if they Googled it to find that it refers to one of the most famous verses in the Bible, namely, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

This is arguably a very clever way for the person to show not just their allegiance to their team but also to their Christian faith and their belief that Jesus was the Son of God.

Now few of us might be brave enough to have Jesus and the No.1 on our shirts to show whom we support, but if sports fans are not ashamed to tell everybody which team they follow, perhaps we should too.

Now there’s a thought!



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