Thursday, February 07, 2008
Imagine a great mass of people from different tribes and nations. They gather together in good spirits in common cause. They are glad to have got there and sing and shout. If you are theologically literate you might be forgiven for imagining this could be heaven. Only it is Wellington - and it lasts 2 days rather than eternity and its about rugby not about God.
In fact it is only loosely about rugby. The event sells out in ten minutes and is vastly over-suscribed but for most of the two days there are huge gaps in the stadium and it is never totally full. Being there, getting there and enjoying it take precedence for most over the love of the game. It is great fun and an event that has become a highlight in the Wellington year.
If you look more closely at the crowd you will notice that people are in groups - usually dressed in similar vein. In fact several of the individual fancy dress prizes were won by trios. people choosing to go in either identical or as below complementary costumes.
I think that the "going together/being together" aspect of the Sevens is really interesting. Some of the groups are nationally orientated in support of the team. Like these colourful Fijians.
The desire to belong is strong. In an individualistic and fragmented world glimpses of community are precious. It is fun and fantasy and demonstrates in some cases enormous creativity and hard work. If we do not belong to a tribal group with customs, costumes and confidence perhaps we seek to forge our own expressions of belonging.
Which begs some interesting questions. How much do we have to conform to belong? How much diversity is desirable? and if the 7s fall some way short of actually being heaven on earth - where can I find a church that does it better?