Olympic Opening Ceremony and the Main Event
What a fantastic job was done by Danny Boyle and everyone involved in creating such a wonderful Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. I watched with hundreds of others at our local Leisure Centre and the place was full of emotional celebration as our heritage unfolded so gloriously in front of our eyes.
It’s a great pity that part of our national culture seems to include focusing on negatives rather than esteeming and encouraging the good and the great in what people do and achieve. We are a nation rich in vibrant creativity and have something valuable to offer the global community. Our music is so powerful and emotive, and despite what happens paradoxically in the Eurovision year after year, it’s simply among the best found anywhere in the world.
Of course the challenge of having such a great Opening Ceremony is to follow through with success in the actual games. Expectations are high for several reasons, not least because the Olympics are in London and because we did so well in Beijing in 2008. At time of writing to going for Team GB is tough BUT the attitudes of our Olympians has been fantastic. They reflect honour and dignity, even in defeat. It’s always worth bearing in mind just how well athletes do just to appear in an Olympic Games!
I have been thinking about a couple of spiritual parallels that have been provoked by the games so far. One really powerful scene unfolded as South African, Chad le Clos narrowly beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly. At the finish of the race the camera turned to capture the rich and passionate emotion of Chad’s parents. His father was literally beside himself with pride and exuberance – to the extent that the BBC pulled him into an interview where his pleasure somehow found hoarse words to describe the feelings he was experiencing. Eventually the words “he’s my son, and he’s beautiful” leaped from his mouth. It was as if I could hear Father God conveying exactly how He feels about every one of us.
The second Olympic Games parallel is to do with the Opening Ceremony and the Main Event of all the competition. There’s a sense in which the Opening Ceremony is somewhat like the life we live here on earth. It reflects all the joys and challenges as history is remembered, and culture and invention are celebrated. But it’s still only the prelude for what is to come. We can see and experience much of God’s glory in our lives and His world as we live through however many years we might have. The Main Event however is an eternity with or without our Father and Maker. How sad if all the effort goes into the Opening Ceremony if attention isn’t given to the Main Event? Just as athletes prepare and train hard for their speciality, there is a responsibility for us to respond to the gift and calling of God. We are each made to spend eternity with Father God in heaven BUT we can only find access through the beautiful and complete work of His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ.
Let’s not miss the point. The Opening Ceremony is over almost as soon as it starts. Life is short. Heaven is for ever. The only closing ceremony that’s ahead is when Father God chooses to bring to a close the earth’s existence and then there is forever after. Whether we live to witness this world’s actual closing ceremony is an unknown but one thing for sure is that we each face our own end. Do you want to do this in the company of our redeemer and saviour Jesus, or face it alone with all the consequences ahead? I know where I have put my faith and trust – where is yours? With God’s help, let’s run the race marked out for us with perseverance, and win the prize which is ahead for us.