On Friday evening, February 7, the XXII Winter Olympics began in Sochi, Russia, Now I am old enough to remember when the Summer and Winter Olympics were in the same year. I really enjoy the fact that they are now separated and we get to have Olympics every TWO years instead of having to wait four years for both of them.
I come by my love of the Olympics honestly. Growing up, when the Olympics games were on, nothing else was watched. When a protest or two might be made that there were other things to watch on TV ( and this was before cable) the answer was always: “This is important! These athletes have worked hard their whole life to compete on an Olympic level. They aren’t paid for it, yet they give it all for their love of their sport and their country.”
Times have changed of course, the understanding of “professional” athlete is more flexible than it used be due to certain international practices that paid for talented athletes to be trained. Nonetheless, there is something moving and amazing about athletes from 88 countries gathering to compete in 15 sports.
Call me sappy, or a silly optimist, but the Olympics are always a sign of hope for me. If we can get 88 countries together to compete on an international level, there is a hope and prayer that we can come together on a deeper level: to work for peace, to work for justice, to work that all have enough to eat, proper medical care, a safe place to live and an education. In the world of the church, this is the call of the reign of God, and the call of Christ to make a difference in the world. Followers of Jesus live all over the world, My hope and prayer in the midst of the Olympic games is that we might start working together to see glimpses of the kingdom Christ promised.
Graced to Serve