The law, or the Spirit?

It has been said that cricket was exported by the British Empire as a way of selling some kind of idea of ‘Britishness’- characterised by fair play, individual skills realised in a team context and adherence to rules. Cricket has moved on a long way since then- the seat of power has shifted firmly towards India, and there is a hard edged professionalism to the game.

However, the high drama of the international arena still has a way of throwing up controversies- there is a great test series being played between India and England at the moment- and yesterday one of the England players, who was batting brilliantly and playing his team into a potentially match winning position, found himself in the middle of a conflict with the laws of the game, and what cricketers still call ‘the spirit of the game’.

In case you are interested, this is what happened-

All very interesting if you are a cricket fan- but also, I think there is a useful theological parallel here. Much of the letters of Paul in the Bible constantly debate the primacy of the LAW as against the NEW KINGDOM- and the rule of love. More recently, this whole controversy has surfaced again with the discussions about what might happen to we sinners when we die (eg Rob Bell’s book ‘Love Wins’) and also all this discussion about homosexuality (see yesterday’s post.)

Our ‘modern’ interpretation of the law is characterised by an idea of inflexible, unyielding black and white rules, and whilst many who practice the law might suggest that this may well be an illusion, we assume that this is the kind of law making that God adheres to also.

But what if the universe has a higher court- not of law, but of principle- you could say the ‘spirit of the game’? What if ultimately, the rule of love will indeed overcome all- not to condemn the law, but to fulfill it. Not to ignore the law, but rather to dwell in the midst of the laws purpose?