Tokyo Olympic Games Word on the Week 24th July 2021.
The Olympic Games got off to a stuttering start this week. Having been cancelled totally last year, due to the Covid pandemic, the Emperor was firm in his resolve that the games must go on!
This decision flew in the face of the will of the people. Apparently around 80% did not want the games for fear of Covid spreading. At present Japan has a very low uptake of the disease but with the influx of competitors from many different countries no amount of testing will be able to keep the pandemic in check.
The games opened last night to an almost empty stadium with muted fireworks. Representative groups of athletes from the 205 competing countries strutted their stuff as they marched round the stadium behind their national flag. In an act of defiance, the games, cancelled last year because of Covid, retain the 2020 label. Perhaps the organisers thought it would confuse the disease to be called the 2020 Olympics in 2021!
The honour of lighting the Olympic flame went to the Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka. She carried out her duties in the stifling heat of a Tokyo night adding to it as she lit the hydrogen fuelled cauldron on top of a Mount Fuji shaped stage.
Perhaps the film “Chariots of Fire” captures the spirit of the Olympics best. It was in 1924 when Eric Liddell, who was entered to run the 100 meters, withdrew because it was to be run on a Sunday. Eric, a Christian, with a high view of the 4th Commandment was prepared to sacrifice all his training and the opportunity to represent his country for God’s honour.
Fortunately, a vacancy arose in the 400 meters, which was run on a weekday and Eric ran in it, beating the opposition and securing the Gold Medal. He is quoted as saying, “Victory over all the circumstances of life comes not by might, nor by power, but by a practical confidence in God and by allowing His Spirit to dwell in our hearts and control our actions and emotions. Learn in the days of ease and comfort, to think in terms of the prayer that follows, so that when the days of hardship come you will be fully prepared and equipped to meet them”.
What has Eric Liddell to do with Japan? He died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1945. He was serving Jesus as a missionary in China when it was over-run by the Japs in ww2. In this he was following Jesus who said, “There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends” (St John Chapter 15 verse 13).
Eric was ‘fully prepared’ by trusting Jesus. Am I, are you?