Summer has belatedly arrived, and along with it the English cricket season with an exciting test series against Pakistan. As many of you know I am a bit of cricket fan and love nothing more than to while away a day watching a slow unfolding drama at Lords Cricket Ground in NW8.
I recognise that for many the rules and play of cricket is a masterful exercise in obfuscation. Yet those who battle through the bafflement are richly rewarded by a game of nuanced tactics unparalleled in modern sport. The fact that test cricket (the highest form of the international game) is played out over five days is the subject of much derision by those who feel that a sporting fixture should be completed in 90 minutes or less. Yet the sheer longevity of the play allows for ebbs and flows in the fortunes of the teams, to the extent that one often has very little clue as to which team will end up victorious until relatively near the end of the match. When I took a young relative to watch a game, part way through the first innings, I was asked: “Who’s winning?” With cricket that is not a question that it is generally possible to answer.
I am often asked a similar question of the Go and Grow project: “How’s the project going?” This is also a question that is difficult to answer. Like an interminable game of cricket, the Go and Grow project seems to be taking a staggering length of time. And also like cricket it ebbs and flows, our fortunes rise and fall and unexpected turns happen, making any predictions of the future extremely tricky. All this makes the timid feel queasy. With millions of pounds at stake, those who are risk-averse are likely to find the whole thing too much to bear. But for those who can, perhaps like cricket, we need to learn the long-game, that Go and Grow surely is. This is the endurance faith challenge that will take St Bs to a new level of faith in God.