While life may make us question what we love (Liverpool), Josh Sexton writes – with faith as in football – the promise of better days to come can spur us all on…
I GOT bang into gospel music over this lockdown.
I’m not even really religious but I do believe we have the gospel music genre (broadly speaking) to thank for some of the best voices in music.
I’d say I’ve always been religious-curious, though. My family aren’t religious either but I think my mum, at least, shares the same view. She doesn’t attend church regularly but likes to go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve night, for example.
I think she likes the idea of divine intervention, of there being something bigger than us. I’m the same but I almost quite like the idea of just being a part of it too. Like going to a place of worship and seeing the same smiling faces, making the same idle small talk with other believers. That being your combined thing. The faith.
Of the religious people I’ve come across in life, as well as my new favourite gospel artists I’ve heard speak on the subject, I feel like I can relate spiritually in some way.
Relate to the idea that no matter how bad things get you know there are brighter days to come. Or that you’ll have bad days where things are weighing on you but you have something/someone to share that with.
It’s at times like these in particular where I’d have thought I’d always struggle to truly believe. Like, if there is a god that is as great and powerful as the one you know and love, how does a global pandemic happen? How are the awful things happening every single day on this earth allowed to happen, for that matter?
I think I’d struggle with the do nots as much as the dos. Could I live with so many predetermined restrictions and still manage to be my own person, to find my own way in this mad world?
The thing is though, in a way, I am religious.
I have witnessed divine intervention. I am a part of something that is bigger than me. I am a part of *something*. I go to a place of worship, with the same smiling faces, to make the same idle small talk with other believers. Something which is our combined thing. The faith.
That thing, that something, that faith, is Liverpool Football Club.
I am spoiled as a Liverpool fan. Spoiled because I support a club which has achieved so much success. Spoiled because I’ve been able to witness so much of that success in the flesh. I’ve made the pilgrimages and seen the light at the end of the tunnel before my very eyes.
My problems will seem minuscule or ‘first-world’ to followers of other entities. But they are my problems, in the context of my own faith.
That’s why it’s at times like this where I do struggle to believe. Like, if Liverpool Football Club are as great and powerful as the club I know and love, how does Liverpool 1 Manchester City 4 happen? How are the awful results that have happened over the last month or so allowed to happen?
And the do nots. There are so many dos but there may be even more do nots. How do I support with these predetermined restrictions and still manage to make it work for me, to find my way in this mad football-supporting world?
It’s easy to feel under pressure to be a certain thing. To allow your support to define you, as much as you define your support.
Last night I felt under pressure to talk about the match (outside of a working context) when it was the absolutely last fucking thing I wanted to do on this earth. I wanted to forget it existed. I wanted to lose sight of my faith, just for the night. Get back to me in the morning.
In the morning the pressure lifted. The new day brought new promise, renewed optimism. The first thing I did when I woke up was message the Liverpool-supporting group chat I muted at full time last night.
“Hi lads. Just like to report. Woke up this morning. Realised we’re gonna win the Champions League. Thanks.”
Because what is the point in all this if you don’t have the faith? If you don’t buy into the idea that no matter how bad things get there are good days to come? That no matter how bad things got last night you had something/someone to share that with?
Liverpool may well need divine intervention to take any positives from this season, if we’re looking at it in the context of the last two seasons. But we would do well to remember that there is something bigger than all of this.
Even though we are all a part of this it shouldn’t define us. We should define it in the context of ourselves.
And we should remember that brighter days are coming. I can’t tell you when, I just know they are.
Soon we will return to our place of worship. And oh come all ye faithful.
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“That’s where we need to be at the moment. Philosophical, accept our defeats, accept that there’s a better team than us this season and go again.”— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 8, 2021
The Post Match Pint from last night 🎥
Great piece Josh! And by the way, you might like this amazing essay on the role of religion bringing us to ‘all being in it together’, regardless of whether we literally believe in its claims:
It turned me from anti religious to religious-curious!
Everybody is religious.
It just depends on what they base their life around (i.e, what they worship)