The 2012 Olympic Summer Games are officially underway in London. For seventeen days, every four years, the world gathers to compete on athletic fields of all sorts: waterways, swimming pools, courts, tracks, arenas, courses, ranges, roads, sand, mats, rings, parks, and fields. Twenty-six different sports, 205 countries (the U.N. has only 192 countries), and 10,961 athletes! For the first time ever, there will be women athletes competing from each country!
I’m really enjoying the iPhone and iPad Olympic apps. The Reuters app has great pictures and short articles. The London 2012 app is excellent, quite robust, and it integrates with Twitter. Without a television, I’m able to stay abreast of all that’s going on. Here’s my only and biggest complaint about American media control: NBC is controlling any and all (legal) access and coverage here in the U.S. In other words, only those with television cable service are allowed online access. No streaming. No real time. Only what they allow and what they interpret as worthwhile. Another institution missing the boat with humanity. Enough said.
There are so many parallels between sports and faith. There are even biblical references to competing, possibly even to the ancient games held in Greece. Play, leisure activity, and sports are all part of God’s ethic for us. Not only are we to set aside a day each week for rest (sabbath), but cultivating an attitude of enjoyment is part of having a balanced life. We can blame Augustine and the Puritans for conversion from play. Unfortunately, some churches have also perfected the somber approach to life.
Play is at the heart of God and God placed a spirit of play in the heart of humanity. Proverbs 8 describes God’s personified attribute Wisdom as a playmate of the creator, delighting and playing in the created world. According to Psalm 104, God created Leviathan to sport or frolic in the sea:
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it (v. 26).
Of course, there will be those who want to demonize Leviathan and all references to it, but that certainly wasn’t the Psalmists intention. And no, it’s not a reference to the fallen, sinful nature of humankind or one of the seven princes who are gatekeepers of hell. Leave all that to the leviathan genre of literature … like Moby Dick.
The point of all this: let’s enjoy the sports, the athletes, and the spirit of competition. Let’s appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of all those who have defied the odds just to be at the Olympics. There are countries I’ve never even heard of who are competing. Some of these countries only have two athletes representing their nation. They probably have no chance of winning any medals, but they came anyway.
There will be motivational stories. History will be made. And a generation will be inspired.
To be continued.