Friday, August 3, 2018

DEVOTION: It’s Not Just About Cricket

by Sherma Webbe Clarke | @sdwc8181 

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:11(KJV)

The momentum starts to build in July. A friendly rivalry heats up. Flags wave on cars, lawns, and from storefronts like political candidates. Red and dark blue flags for Somerset versus light blue and dark blue flags for St. George’s declare fan support.

“Hey, bye, you’re wearing the wrong colors.”

“My team’s taking the cup this year!”

Like any staunch St. George’s fan, I don’t wear red in the weeks before Cup Match (the name of the event and the colloquial name for the holiday) to avoid being accused of supporting the Somerset team. The entire community, from bus drivers to shopkeepers to CEOs, engages in good-natured teasing about the other person’s team. After all, a trophy and bragging rights are at stake.

Cup Match enthusiasm is infectious. It’s an excellent time for visitors to mingle with locals and receive first-hand information about Bermuda’s culture. Everyone should go to Cup Match at least once just for the experience. The perimeter of the field fills with spectators, and the pitch is dotted with players in cricket whites. With its bats, balls, and catchers, the game loosely resembles baseball, if I may make that comparison for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the sport. Colorful terms such as wicket, silly mid-on, and “Howzat?” (How’s that?) are exchanged for home runs, shortstop, and foul balls. Cricket might appear sedate to the unfamiliar onlooker, but the crowd is another story. Engaged, loud, and sun-kissed spectators share their knowledge of the game with those who wear curious or befuddled expressions.

Emancipation Day Plus Somers Day Equals Cup Match 

Cup Match officially began in 1902, and it falls on the Thursday and Friday before the first Monday in August. The history of Cup Match goes beyond the frenzy of a two-day cricket match. It is comprised of two significant historical events.

The first day of Cup Match is an observance of Emancipation Day, August 1, 1834, when slaves in Bermuda were freed according to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Thus began the practice by former slaves to take August 1 as a no-work day. Eventually, the day evolved into a community celebration and swelled into a national treasure.

The second day, Somers Day, commemorates the event when the Sea Venture, captained by Admiral George Somers, ran aground in Bermuda in 1609. Although the survivors of the wrecked ship remained on the Island for 10 months, Bermuda wasn’t settled as a colony by the British until 1612.

Therefore, over Cup Match we remember freedom and discovery.

Discovery and a New Name 

A Christian’s story has similar themes. Can you remember when you discovered or found Christ? Some people can recall the exact time and place. I remember being baptized, publically declaring my decision to follow Him. I rose from the water free in Jesus as he promised in John 8:36: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. He gave me a new name, not Somers Isles or Bermuda, but Daughter of God. He wrote my new name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Each day men and women make emancipation proclamations in their hearts. Jesus came to this world in the flesh to set captives free from the bondage of sin. He sends us into the field to tell others about the good news of salvation. When He returns, the loud cry of joy will be raised by His people, not Howzat? but Hallelujah!

Then we will celebrate in our heavenly home for eternity.

Praise God!

Let's chat: What unique holiday do you observe where you live?

About Sherma...

Sherma is a contemporary fiction writer, amateur photographer, reading enthusiast, and wife who often takes her husband by the hand to explore nearby and far-flung areas of the globe. This wanderlust has its perks. She credits many of her story ideas to these adventures, which provide great opportunities for research for short stories and the novel series she is currently working on. Quiet, early-morning walks along the railroad trails on her home island of Bermuda provide inspiration when she is homebound. She has been awarded prizes for short stories written for local publications, and her inspirational writing has been included in Christian devotional books: Grace Notes and Blessed. Sherma is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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