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The Word on the Week

Paralympics 2012.

Following the success of the spectacular opening night of the London Olympics a month ago it was hard to imagine that the opening night of the Paralympics this week would surpass it – but it did.

The 4 hour epic took the theme of “Enlightenment” and was built around the narration of the metallic voice of Stephen Hawkings, perhaps the most famous disabled scientist in the world. From his high performance wheelchair he opened the proceedings with “Ever since the dawn of civilisation people have craved for an understanding about the underlying order of the world”. He then took us through “big bangs”, “black holes” and even the Biggs Boson Collider was thrown in for good measure.

Against this background of scientific endeavour it was good to see due deference made to our rainy weather. The recurring symbol of the umbrella was used to great affect enabling the disabled to fly or float as they triumphed over their handicaps.

The Queen had only a bit part amongst the 150 performers and was perhaps the only one not carrying a disability!

Possibly the most moving part of the evening came when the disabled dancer Birdy Bird Gerhl sang her beautiful haunting song “I am a bird girl now”. Although written 7 years ago it was a wonderfully appropriate to the athletes finding their form by surmounting their physical limitations. Some of the lyrics are: –

I’ve been searching
For my wings some time
I’m gonna be born
Into soon the sky
‘Cause I’m a bird girl
And the bird girls go to heaven

The ultimate goal is not to remain earthbound but to aim higher – to heaven itself.

The Bible would agree that we are made to be re-made for heaven.

It puts it this way, that because of Christ’s love for us he died as our substitute; his perfect life for us sinners. It is faith in this fact that enables us to no longer live to please ourselves but to please him. We now see people differently because believers are new creations embodying Christ’s way of seeing things and have been given the task of reconciling people to God (2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 14 to 18).

To Stephen Hawkins, the Bible would say that we are creations not creators. As John Lennox reminds us “It is for the universe to shape our ideas about how it works, rather than for us to decide in our heads how it ought to work and then force the universe to comply”. Even the earth is not ours, but God’s … we are not our own – we are bought with a price, the precious blood of Christ (1Peter chapter 1 verses 18/21).