The Olympic Aims

Written by Anthony Douglas on 11 February 2018.

Faster, higher, stronger. The motto of the Olympic movement is fairly well known, and largely uncontroversial. The idea of the competition is, after all, to compete - and therefore to aim to exceed the efforts of your fellow competitors. It’s a goal that fits perfectly with the mood of society over the last few centuries, as technological progress and population growth have seen a steady march forward. Or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

KoreaThis year’s Winter Olympics will prove an interesting challenge to the competitive agenda, for they take place in the midst of an unusual situation. North and South Korea have been officially at war for decades, and this subtext has been prominent in the months leading up to the Games. Yet at the last moment, the North have decided to send a team of athletes, and in some sports, the two nations will combine to field a united Korean team. They will lay aside their rivalry to compete against other rivals.

It’s an illustration of the absurdity of competition. Sure, it’s fine in sports, but we as a race have ... well, we call ourselves a race, don’t we? We choose to compete by default, when so often it is actually cooperation that is called for. Sin leads us to struggle against one another, and has forced us to struggle to survive.

But the gospel shows another way. Jesus’ supreme service means that we can live to serve instead - and when we do, we find that the church is indeed stronger, that we raise each other higher. All because of something just a little bit better than Faster - Easter!

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