In Barcelona from where we were staying we were able to walk to the football stadium in just 30 minutes. There is a great museum there of the history of the club;you could spend the day there if you wanted to! We sat in the stadium and could see that the grass was being removed for new turf for next season. Then on the way out one of the stewards, in a friendly but urgent voice, kept saying,”Lionel Messi grass!” There it was if you wanted it! Pieces of the Nou Camp turf to put on the wall at home or on a key ring-after all the great footballer Messi has worked football magic on this-who wouldn’t want a piece!?
The apostle John has some advice for us on this. He learnt it himself on a day when he had an overwhelming experience -no not a visit to a football stadium-but words from an angel of God. It is recorded for us in Revelation chapter 22. John was so overcome by what he saw that he fell down to worship the angel. The angel however immediately says ,”See that you do not do that..I am your fellow servant…..Worship God!”
Is there a message for us in that last chapter of the Bible? I think so. It is one thing to enjoy the various things that are in this world-food,sport,arts,music,marriage,family,homes, travel etc and enjoy them we can- but we are not to worship any of those things. Even if an angel appears to you or you are visited by a famous celebrity or the greatest sports person the worship of them is forbidden. It is possible to give worship to something or someone rather than to worship God. This is sin. It is the breaking of the very first commandment,”You shall have no other gods besides Me.” The word “worship” actually means to bow down. Only God is to be adored in this way. He demands it of us because we are His creatures and He deserves it from us because He has reached out to us sinners in love sending His only Son to be our Saviour.
John Calvin said in the 16th century that “the human heart is an idol factory” and it’s business as usual in the 21st!
“The dearest idol I have known ,Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne, And worship only Thee.” (William Cowper)