THE Olympics are here. Possibly someone you know may have been lucky enough to buy a ticket, but most of us will just watch the Games on television.
It’s an astonishing thought that these modern Olympics, begun again in 1896 and competed for every four years in a different venue, had their origin at Olympia in south west Greece in 776 BC. In those far off days, if you were fortunate enough to win an event you received wild olive leaves – a sign that you had achieved the highest pinnacle of achievement. There were no gold, silver or bronze medals; just the honour of the leaves and the accolade of ‘Olympic champion’. The importance of hard graft, skill and talent was recognised by something natural, that is, leaves.
All five continents are now on the edge, every athlete in these London Games is on the edge, to compete, to do the best, to win if possible and to recognise excellence in others – a celebration of athleticism, an involvement, a participation in being athletic in the truest sense.
The original meaning of the word ’athlete’ means someone who is true – true to oneself, true to one’s values, true to others, true to God.
The five interlocking rings, signalling the continents being represented by athletes of all disciplines, are in themselves signs of international co-operation, teamwork and harmony – a message to us all that what is most important is a sense of truth, honesty and integrity from the athletes and the countries they represent.
Those of us in the wings, on the edge, looking in at the action in the Olympic arenas in London, will be looking for the best, the fastest, the fittest, the most dedicated in our sportsmen and women.
However, such attitudes need not only come from our superstars but from the ordinary, from you and me who, in striving for the very best, by valuing others, respecting others, working for others, caring for others, are doing what is most noble.
I contend that, in doing these things, we are not on the edge but at the core of what our God-given humanity is all about – honouring our Creator, God the Father, whose Son Jesus Christ gave us a perfect example of disciplined unselfish true living and, by the power of His Holy Spirit, following Him to fulfil all our dreams of being the very best we can, to the glory of God – and if a medal comes our way, fantastic!
The Rev John Murdoch, minister of Largo, writes in the East Fife Mail.