Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thoughts on the Olympics

With school starting next week (and the Olympics airing this week), I have had little time to do much of blogging. But two things from the Opening Ceremonies last Friday struck me. The parade of nations at the end of the Ceremonies is always my favorite part. It was only this year (probably because I am older now) that I stopped to think about the fact that one day we too will be involved in the parade of nations on a much grander scale. And the nations that will be gathering will not be for an elusive gold medal, but they will be gathering around the throne of the Lamb who was slain. People talk about the Olympics being the great unifier—the only place where nations stop fighting for a moment in order to compete. Unfortunately this year this isn’t the case. And it never really has been because sports (as fun as they are to watch) will never make for peace. Nations will never lay down their swords until Christ grips their hearts and they take up a different sword, for a different cause. As I watched people from different tribes and tongues march into the “Birds Nest” in Beijing, I was reminded that, though imperfect, this was a preview of what heaven would be like—except only more glorious.

Another thing that struck me as the Ceremonies concluded was the little boy who marched in with the Chinese team. The earthquake killed 20 of his 30 classmates when it hit in May. After he escaped he went back into the building to rescue 2 more classmates. When asked why he did this the 9 year old said that it was his duty because he was a class leader. Counter this story with the story of the middle school teacher who abandoned his class when the earthquake hit, claiming that he would do it again if he were in that position. The fact that a 9 year old boy feels compelled to rescue his classmates, at possible cost to his own life, is a reminder of common grace. God graciously allowed him to see the need to protect his friends in that moment—and for that we can be thankful. Maybe this little boy doesn’t know who this God is, but I pray that someday he will. And maybe even during this Olympic Games a Bible will get to him where he can read about the One, who at great cost to his own life, went to the Cross and died so we might live. That’s a great rescue.

So as I watch the Olympics, it is a reminder to pray. To pray that the nations would be glad in God, and God alone. And to pray that those who do not yet know his name will soon know the One who knows their name. Oh that God would be pleased to save many this Olympics.

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