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Eriksen embrace shows power to transform lives

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Food for thought by Matthew Alexander, Pastor of Wick Baptist Church

Unless you’re a hardcore Brentford or Norwich City football fan, there is every chance you will have missed one of the English Premier League’s most brilliantly bizarre moments of sportsmanship for some time when the two sides met on the March 5.

The incident involved Christian Eriksen – who has recently returned to playing top-flight football after his cardiac arrest during last year’s European championship – and the young Norwich full-back Brandon Williams.

Eriksen had cynically fouled Williams by hauling him to the ground. Williams reacted angrily and went to grab his tackler by the front of the shirt, but then realised who it was that had pulled him down. As soon as he saw Eriksen’s face, his angry grab and shove turned into an awkward hug that left both players picking themselves up off the ground with bemused smiles on their faces.

What caused this bizarre and comical reversal of behaviour? Eriksen is universally admired in the footballing world as someone who has “cheated” death and endured the long road back to fitness and professional competition. It is a privilege for any footballer to play on the same pitch as him, and even to be fouled by him. Any encounter with this legend of the game seems to bring out the best in people.

As we approach Easter, Christians remember another man who didn’t merely cheat death, but who was dead and buried. Jesus’ resurrection on the third day completely transformed the lives of his grieving followers. To say that he brought out the best in people would be a total understatement. He transformed them from the inside out. He is still changing the lives of those who encounter him today. Will you allow him to change yours?

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