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Light-Weight Championship

“One Saturday afternoon I watched the telecast of the world’s light-weight boxing championship match. The boxers were a thirty-one-year-old Scotsman and a man from the United States who was six years younger. The Scot was the reigning champion, and the bout was being fought before a crowd of twenty thousand in Glasgow, Scotland. The champion had said before the match that he would rather die than be beaten before his own people; but the younger contender had never before been beaten in a professional contest.

“Soon after the match began it became clear that the battle would be close. As I sat watching, I heard something unlike anything I had ever heard before. It was faint at first, but it seemed to be singing—singing at a boxing match! Gradually, it became louder; hundreds and hundreds of male voices singing a strange Scottish melody. I could hardly believe it. They were singing encouragement for their champion. As he fought for his crown, but even more for the respect of the Scottish people, they sang to encourage him.

“I have not thought about that contest since without a lump rising in my throat; nor have I thought of it without thinking how like the Christian’s battle it was, and how like the role of the church to sing encouragement for its members”.

From Charles Durham, Temptation, InterVarsity Press, 1982, p. 125