Rory McIlory...and other costly slips

Rev David Clarke.
Rev David Clarke.

An injury incurred during a friendly football kickabout with friends ruled Rory McIlroy out of last week’s‘ Open’ at St. Andrews.

Little has been revealed about the exact cause of the injury. Was it a late bone-crunching tackle a la Paul Scholes from a so-called friend, or a simple slip on a tricky surface, as Rory stretched to reach a stray pass?

One thing we do know is that it could prove costly for the world’s Number One golfer.

The New Testament letter to the Hebrews warned against the dangers of slipping. Addressing Jews who had converted to Christianity, and left behind the proud history and impressive ritual of their

Jewish faith, the author attempts to discourage any second thoughts about the step they had taken.

He is keen to underline the superiority of the faith they have freely chosen, and warns them to pay attention to the truths of their new faith, “lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2;1 King James version).

The Greek word translated ‘slip’ occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but had a range of applications in the first Christian century.

It was used of a ring slipping from a finger, or of a boat slipping from its moorings.

In a medical sense it was used of a crumb of food sticking in a windpipe.

More often it was used of allowing something to slip from one’s memory.

Jesus saw the way birds snatched up stray seed as an example of the way in which the good news of the gospel can slip from the mind (Mark 4; 15).

C.S Lewis underlined the truth in the first of his ‘Screwtape Letters’, advice from a senior to a junior devil in how to prevent the development of Christian faith in an unbeliever.

He pictured an atheist , seated in the British Museum, studying material which prompted religious thoughts.

The remedy for that case was to suggest that it was time for lunch.

Once out in the street, in the bustle, noise and traffic, the thoughts were soon forgotten.

Be careful, gentle reader, not to let God’s word slip so easily away!