I don’t know about you, but I love the Olympics. As a child, I would buy the event guidebook, and dutifully watch TV and read the newspaper so that I could write down the medal winners in each event.
I think this year, like many, I was wondering about whether they should or would go ahead, given the pandemic situation around the world, and especially given the rise in cases across many parts of East Asia these past few months.
That said, this is now the fifth country apart from my passport country to watch them.
Being away from home can be frustrating at times like this. Sports you want to watch may not be the same priority for the National Broadcast rights holder.
Yet, such a situation brings new opportunities to learn about the country you are currently in.
This Olympics, I have tried to understand Judo, watched a lot of Badminton and Table Tennis, and even begun to appreciate the finer points of weightlifting strategy.
In doing so, we hope to better connect with our host culture. Chatting away on social media about things that they care about, and going along with them for the emotional ride that sport is. A few nights ago, it was great to hear the cheering of neighbours as Taiwan won a breakthrough Gold Medal.
Another thing we learn about is the diversity of the world and how God has made us. Even the strongest Olympic nations are not successful at every event. Different training regimes strengthen different parts of the athlete’s body. The elite Shot Putter looks different to an excellent middle distance runner. Such a parallel to how God gives us different gifts and roles to play.
The apostle Paul wrote that “while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way”. Please pray that we can use the connections from sports to spur one another on to train in godliness and run with endurance the race set before us.
– Peter Denham, Support Ministry
(Taipei, Northern Taiwan)