Posted by George Morrison

The celebration marking to opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing must rank as favourite for the title “the greatest show on earth”. It was breathtaking as our senses were overwhelmed by the sheer scale and technical complexity of the “Birds Nest” stadium. The gravity denying deeds appeared to be miraculous. The bonus for China was that the flawless performance was witnessed by the global power-brokers from their seats in the arena. The Olympic slogan “One World, One Dream” and the 5 interlocking circles representing the 5 continents joined by sport bear testimony to the 204 competing countries. Behind the statistics lie years of gruelling training undergone by the competitors. St Paul was familiar with the rigours required by athletes. He encouraged the Christians at Corinth to adopt a similar lifestyle and to go all out for the prize. He wrote; “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified. The Olympians looked for favours from their gods to help them win the prize. In China the number 8 carries the notion of good luck so the date 8.8.08 was deliberately chosen in the hope it would secure greater success. Entry to the Christian race is through faith in Christ. This is faith in the facts of his death, as our substitute and in his resurrection to eternal life, to ensure that every repentant entrant will be included. Symbols of luck are jettisoned and Christ is seen to be an adequate saviour for this world and the next. As St Paul said; “I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. In the end of the day that’s the only prize that matters. Trust him and press on.