Thought For The Week 1 August 2021
Haven’t the Olympics been a joy to watch?
There’s something about the simple joy of the human body tuned to exceptional performance that is beautiful and awe-inspiring. These days with close up cameras and slow motion shots, the drama and the intensity is highlighted all the more.
The admiration of athletic endeavour and human excellence is nothing new. Paul’s letters in the New Testament are ripe with athletic imagery. Push on towards the goal. Run the race. Every muscle and sinew and fibre working together. These are the images that Paul gives us for how we are to strive and extend ourselves in pursuit of the pinnacle of human experience expressed in the new humanity made possible through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It seems like all this striving, success and failure is all up to and down to us. Our successes. Our failures. We see this in the media coverage in the Olympics: every time a New Zealander qualifies for a final, the media gush with expectation, “will they bring home Gold?” Every time someone falls millimetres or milliseconds short, hands are wrung to the tune of “Where did it all go wrong?”
As Christians, it would be easy for us to fall into these same traps. Every mountain and valley on the Way becomes a feather in our cap, or a blemish to be ashamed of. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul reminds us, again and again, that the victory has already been won on the cross, and the fulfilment is in the loving arms of a Father who already accepts us as His own children. We are called to push on, yes, but success and failure does not hang on our failure. Rather, it is as we lean into the Way set before us, we discover more and more of what it means to be brothers and sisters of Christ, children of God, one in the Father, members and muscles and sinew of His body, here on earth.