Ticking the boxes

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, originally from the Congo, ‘died’ for 78 minutes after he collapsed on the field in March and was rushed to hospital. His fiancée, his three-year-old son, his other family members, his doctors, his club and countless people surrounded him with support and, yes, love while he battled with life and death.

Fabrice Muamba
Fabrice Muamba

Twice the doctors prepared to admit defeat but they kept up their efforts to resuscitate him. ‘I am the living witness of a miracle,’ he says and indeed the room was ‘choked with emotion’ at a gathering to honour former teammate Robin van Persie as footballer of the year when he rose to wrap his arms around Muamba.

Maybe we think of a miracle as all God’s business. But the line between his business and ours is blurred. When a person is surrounded by love and prayer – Muamba remembers a young African cleaner coming into the ward every day and praying silently in a corner – it is a powerful combination.

Such stories hit the news as they are about well-known people. Yet there are many other similar stories where a person can say with Muamba, ‘I died. Now I am alive.’ We are approaching the end of the Easter season and we have readings from the farewell address of Jesus to his disciples where he says, ‘remain in my love … I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete’ (John 15).There are two words here that we could take away; ‘love’ obviously, but also ‘remain’.

In John’s gospel there is quite a bit about where Jesus lives (1:38) and preparing places for us to stay (14:1). Here (in John 15) the word is remain or abide. But the idea is the same. Where do we make our home? FabriceMuamba is fortunate to ‘stay’ in a loving family but he is also surrounded by teammates and a wide public of interested supportive people. He is a humble appreciative person; ‘It’s unbelievable, man, just to be able to walk freely … to be able to see my little boy … The freedom, its priceless. I’ll hold onto that feeling forever. There’s no money in the world that can buy that.’

Our age glorifies the individual. The messages of our culture are often about being self-reliant and in-charge of our own life. But all we need is an accident or an illness to throw us back on others and our need for them.

Music, like love, is something we are given; something we can surrender to and something in which we can find ourselves.

Post published in: Faith

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