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The Olympics

 I don’t think I am alone in this:
    I don’t normally watch men’s figure skating on television.  But I do during the Olympics.
    I have no interest in downhill skiing.  But I do during the Olympics.
    You couldn’t pay me to watch a curling match (sweeping a broom on the ice in front of a large, moving stone), but during the Olympics, I am all in.
     Same with bobsledding, the luge or, in the summer games, gymnastics.
     When it comes to the Olympics, something piques my interest.
     Maybe it is just the fact that I love competition.
     Or I admire the skill level of people who can do incredible athletic feats.
     Maybe I just have such great memories of the Olympics from when I was younger.
     Or perhaps I am just still naive enough to think that there is something pure to root for.
     Is it because my life is boring?
     It could be that I like the patriotism and people representing their countries.
     I think because it happens only once every four years has something to do with it.
     And it has a history that goes back a couple of thousand years.
     Gold, silver and bronze are part of the American lexicon.
      And so it is “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
     Great personal stories of triumph and perseverance.
     David vs. Goliath. The Miracle On Ice. Mark Spitz, Nadia Comaneci, Jesse Owens,
     Babe Didrikson, Carl Lewis, Cassius Clay, Teofilio Stephenson, Usain Bolt, Simone,
     Biles, Michael Phelps.
     Do you believe in miracles?
In truth, it is probably a combination of all these things accompanied by the grandiosity and pageantry of the opening ceremonies with the lighting of the Olympic torch on one end and the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment hovering over the closing ceremonies on the other end.
But there is one other thing that I love.  That the world seems to stop and come together, competing with skill and talent instead of fighting with bullets and bombs.  There is pride in one’s country but the games are not about world domination or political or ideological expansion.  Countries are opponents, not enemies.  People from different backgrounds, different histories and different political leanings find that deep down they are not all that different from one another.  No matter where people are from, they have mothers and fathers, siblings and extended families.  They worry about their kids, worry about their future, worry about their health.  They dream of better days and brighter futures.  They laugh and cry and feel a whole range of emotions.  Not because they are American or Russian or Chinese or Norwegian or African or South Korean.  But because they are human.  It is what we all have in common.
I know it sounds very Kumbaya-ish.  And I know it sounds pretty corny.  I can hear a friend or two calling me “Nancy” while handing me a tissue.  Laugh away, thats fine with me.  All I know is that one day humankind will not be divided and separated form one another.  We will not be defined by our country of origin but by our humanness.  We will not pride ourselves in where we were born or had earthly citizenship.  We will identify as citizens of a kingdom whose King is Jesus.  And we will be together, united and one in heart and purpose.  Different but together, because of who Jesus is and what He has done for us.  And we will return our thanks to him by our worship of the One who died and rose again.  The Lamb of God who was dead but is now alive.  Saint John saw this in his vision of the future kingdom of God on earth as recorded in Revelation chapter 7:
” After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from all nations and tribes and languages, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

 And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God upon the throne, and from the Lamb.”

 And now all the angels were crowding around the throne and around the Elders and the four Living Beings, and falling face down before the throne and worshiping God. “Amen!” they said. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God forever and forever. Amen!”

Maybe, in some really small way, the Olympics is a taste of what is to come.

Did I just hear somebody hum a familiar song?
“Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya.
What do you think?  How does it make you feel?