Imposter Takes the Medal Stand – Winter Olympics 2010

Watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, it’s easy for me to see why we humans are tempted to worship ourselves.

The artistry and physical prowess on display were breathtaking. The technology of lights and illusions combined with the grace and physique of performers, the angelic voices of singers, the words of poets and explorers and the history of multiple cultures were enough to reemphasize to me why we are considered the pinnacle of creation.

And the games hadn’t even begun.

The Olympics remind us all of our former glory in Eden. Humans at the top of their physical game testing themselves against others with a spirit of sportsmanship and global unity testifying to the magnificent potential in each of us.

Whether we realize it or not, I believe that what we tap into during the Olympics is the distant memory of ourselves before the Fall. As if there were a wormhole in the space/time continuum, we experience a brush with our former glory. We know ourselves as we could have been had our ancestors not chosen rebellion and every generation since embraced that as the most consistent tradition to pass down to our progeny.

It is in the wake of such displays of human glory that we pull out the old blueprints for the Tower of Babel and recall our original scheme to gain admittance to heaven on our own.

But there were reminders throughout the ceremony that we need help.

Concessions to allow Chinese Taipei to march under a special Olympic flag. Mention that Iran was separated from Israel by only one country in the ceremonial march. North Korea coming in notably separate from South Korea. Countries whose names seem unfamiliar because they have only recently gained independence or because of turmoil and upheaval in their governments. Aging Olympians. Graying heroes. A faulty lever at a crucial moment – denying us the perfection we long to execute and behold.

Simple, quiet reminders that we are not “all that”.

And the gravest reminder of all that we are no longer in Eden: a fallen competitor. A boy just barely into manhood taken before our eyes in a final, violent heartbeat against a steel pole. And there is a global moment of silence when we acknowledge that we are helpless against death. Death always waits. Death always wins. Death waves his flag from the medal stand and kisses the gold while we weep at the sound of his national anthem rising in the stadium of our lives.

Except we are not alone.

We are the pinnacle of a creation that has a Creator. Our rebellion was against a being greater than ourselves. Our very hopes for perfection were instilled in us by One who is perfect. And He has defeated even death.

He competed in these very games, broke every record, ran with flawless perfection the absolute human race and knocked Death completely out of competition. He is the Victor. His banner flies and His anthem rings through the cosmos.

And we can stand with Him. We can follow in His victory lap if we will only acknowledge that it is not us that should be worshipped but Him. We are the created and He is the Creator. We seek perfection and that is found in Jesus Christ.

As you watch the Olympic Games, see if you can hear the echo of your own former glory. Not the former glory of your youth but of a time even before your birth, a time when you resided in Eden and knew the exquisite perfection of unbroken fellowship with the God of the Universe. Can you hear it? Can you remember it? Can you reach for it now – stepping through the portal that is Jesus?

Just do it. Go for the gold. Knock death off the medal stand of your own life. Listen to the ancient anthem of the cosmos and know that you hear the music of your homeland – Eden – the place before our rebellion, before our fall from grace. The homeland of our former glory where we can find our way again by way of Jesus, the ultimate Victor who ran for us all.

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    The Conversation

  1. Heather says:

    This is very good, Lori. You are right – the reminder of the past. I also think of the future when people of all tongues and nations will be gathered as God’s one people. I look forward to that day when we will forever live in unity together with our God.

  2. Great point, Heather. A reminder that one day our race will be complete and we will gather from with the multitude from every tongue, tribe and nation and before the throne of God!

  3. Greg says:

    Once again, very well written, Lori! (Do you ever get sick of people telling you you’re a good writer?) 😉

    When I get that gold medal, I’ll step off the podium, kneel at Jesus’ throne and hand it to Him. Without Him we are nothing. But WITH Him, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

    “It is in the wake of such displays of human glory that we pull out the old blueprints for the Tower of Babel…” LOVE IT!!!

  4. You’re very kind, Greg! I actually have an Olympic capacity for hearing that I’m a good writer! I’ve had some very low writing moments lately so your ecouragement goes a long way. Thank you!

  5. Sherry says:

    This is my first time here and I have to second what Greg said. This is a breathtakingly beautiful post. My spirit was moved as I was reminded of my own fallenness and need for a savior. Call me captured. I’ll be a loyal follower from here on out. Thank you.

  6. Sherry, welcome! Your comment has touched my heart. Praise God for the gift of words. I’m honored to have you among my readers.

  7. Anonymous says:

    LORI: Your description of the Olympic events was an example of excellent writing and a sense of past history. I love hearing from you and thanks for reading my blog. You are my teacher and I thank you for giving me the idea. I have had lots of jun with it, and I love to get comments. Keep in touch and hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day. Fondly, Fancy Nancy

  8. Anonymous says:

    I made a typo in my comment. Can I edit a post that I sent to you after it is published?? Fancy Nancy I know fun is fun not jun. RSVP? How do I edit a published comment??? Fancy Nancy

  9. No worries, Nancy. I can translate typos when I read! You honor me with your readership and your comments! Glad you’re enjoying Florida. Hope you and Marty are having a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

  10. Marcia says:

    Thank you, Lori, for your inspirational post. I really enjoy your blog.

  11. Cheri says:

    Loved this line: “Whether we realize it or not, I believe that what we tap into during the Olympics is the distant memory of ourselves before the Fall.”

    Great insights!

    Thanks, Lori!