2010 Soccer World Cup Prayer
Lord God it is the year 2010. The year of the soccer world cup. The year when African soil welcomes the world to play and watch what is known as the beautiful game. Lord, people are excited and this is wonderful to see. Our nation is overflowing with pride and our continent is enjoying being in the news for something other than suffering and strife. To show off the beauty of this beloved country to an ever growing amount of tourists is a privilege. There are flags flying everywhere—none are being burned in protest instead they are being embraced with respect and regard, even the flags of our “enemies”.
Lord a little round ball has given us a unifying focus—our primary identity is no longer black or white; rich or poor; supburb or township; boardroom or street corner, parliament or pub—we are supporters with a comon hope and comon goal and even a comon noice —<<<
Lord, people have worked hard for this world cup. If not heaven, then atleast a lot of earth has been moved for it to take place and we marvel at the new infrastructure—a supersonic train—new buses—highways and walkways which have provided much needed jobs for which we are thankful.
But Lord even though I am excited I am equally disturbed. Why did we need a soccer world cup as a motivating factor to address matters of national infrastructure? And how come the bulk of the infrastructural change benefits the privileged over the deprived? How come we build bridges for fans that will be used for only a few weeks but there are communities living next to busy roads and railway lines without bridges forcing the young and old to risk their lives everytime they seek to go across to the other side?
Why are highway pavements paved where no one ever walks using far more bricks than it would take to enclose open toilets? Billions are spent on stadia while our housing backlog increases anually.
We have first class airports that really are beautiful but only the rich can afford to fly—in truth our public transport system for the majority remains overcrowded and unsafe. We hear of a nearby hospital that has been upgraded for this event only to be closed soon afterwards and we wonder how we can afford such waste.
Lord we are grateful for the jobs that have been created but we also know that the shareholders of the construction companies have made a disproportionate profit than those who have actually done the hard physical work.
Lord as we welcome thousands of visitors we do so with fear that human trafficking, child abduction and the sex trade may all increase. Finally Lord how did we get to this place where soccer players earn multimillion Pound salaries—and for what really—compared to educators and nurses and vocations that are dedicated to the development of the human person and the wellbeing of the planet. Have mercy on us for our skewed priorities Lord.
Have mercy on us for being more passionate about a little round ball than we are about feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and working for economic justice in the world you so love.