3 Mar

SportsReach Netball League 2016/17

The penultimate night of the season!  Only one week of league fixtures left (before the Cup begins!) and we were again blessed with a fine, mild calm evening.  The message I listened to this week included the following story –

Back in the 1800s, a young Englishman traveled to California in search of gold. After several months of prospecting, he struck it rich. On his way home, he stopped in New Orleans. Not long into his visit, he came upon a crowd of people all looking in the same direction. Approaching the crowd, he recognized that they had gathered for a slave auction.

Slavery had been outlawed in England for years, so this young man’s curiosity drew him to watch as a person became someone else’s property. He heard “Sold!” just as he joined the crowd. A middle-aged black man was taken away. Next a beautiful young black girl was pushed up onto the platform and made to walk around so everyone could see her. 

The miner heard vile jokes and comments that spoke of evil intentions from those around him. Men were laughing as their eyes remained fixed on this new item for sale. 

The bidding began. Within a minute, the bids surpassed what most slave owners would pay for a slave girl. As the bidding continued higher and higher, it became apparent that two men wanted her. In between their bids, they joked with vile and coarse jesting. The miner stood silent as anger welled up inside of him.

Finally, one man bid a price that was beyond the reach of the other. The girl looked down. The auctioneer called out, “Going once! Going twice!”

Just before the final call, the miner yelled out a price that was exactly twice the previous bid, an amount that exceeded the worth of any man. The crowd laughed, thinking that the miner was only joking, wishing that he could have the girl himself. 

The auctioneer motioned to the miner to come and show his money. The miner opened up the bag of gold he had brought for the trip. The auctioneer shook his head in disbelief as he waved the girl toward him. 

The girl walked down the steps of the platform until she was eye-to-eye with the miner. She then spat straight in his face and said through clenched teeth, “I hate you!”

The miner, without a word, wiped his face, paid the auctioneer, took the girl by the hand, and walked away from the still-laughing crowd. He seemed to be looking for something in particular as they walked up one street and down another. Finally he stopped in front of some sort of store, though the slave girl did not know what type of store it was.

She waited outside as the dirty-faced miner went inside and started talking to an elderly man. She couldn’t make out what they were talking about. At one point the voices got louder, and she overheard the store clerk say, “But it’s the law! It’s the law!”

Peering in, she saw the miner pull out his bag of gold and pour what was left of it on the table. With what seemed like a look of disgust, the clerk picked up the gold and went back in the room. He came out with a piece of paper, and both he and the miner signed it. 

The young girl looked away as the miner came out the door. Stretching out his hand, he said to the girl, “Here are your emancipation papers. You are free.”

The girl did not look up. He tried again. “Here. These are papers that say you are free. Take them.”

“I hate you!” the girl responded, refusing to look up. “Why do you make fun of me?”

“No, listen,” he pleaded. “These are your freedom papers. You are a free person.”

The girl looked at the papers, then looked at him, and looked at the papers once again. “You just bought me, and now, you’re setting me free?”

“That’s why I bought you. I bought you to set you free.” 

The beautiful young girl fell to her knees in front of the miner, tears streaming down her face. “You bought me to set me free! You bought me to set me free!” she said over and over.

The miner said nothing. 

Clutching his muddy boots, the girl looked up at the miner and said, “All I want to do is to serve you–because you bought me to set me free!”

A powerful story that reminds us of Jesus, who through His death on the cross, paid for our sins, that He might set us free.  What’s our response?  Have we accepted the freedom He bought for us and received the life He wants to give us?

1Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

Results 01/03/17:

With Heysham Harriers already crowned as division three winners and following this weeks win for Panthers over Amazons, next weeks match between Panthers and Flames is set up very nicely, where the winners will be guaranteed to be runners up.  In division two, Royals brought MereCats great winning run to an end to all but guarantee the title with just a point needed in their final game to see off the strong challenge from Sapphires.    With most places already decided in division one, there were still some great matches played.  TopCats and WildCats both won to finish second and third respectively.  Mantawrays won against Lightning to finish a creditable fourth after promotion last season.  Thunder and Stingwrays produced a very exciting end to end game, with it being nip and tuck all the way and Thunder scoring the decisive goal with only seconds left.

Westhouse Lightning 16 – 25 Mantawrays; 

Quernmore Rubies 5 – 48 Chipping WildCats;    

Lancaster Royals 48 – 17 Chipping MereCats; 

Westhouse Thunder 24 – 23 Stingwrays;  

Preston Amazons 8 – 34 Panthers; 

Quernmore Jets 7 – 22 Bluebelles;

Lancaster Roses 10 – 32 Garstang Crystals;

Chipping TopCats 43 – 11 Preston Swallows:

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