Looking at Life Thru God’s Glasses: Two Different Olympic Ceremonies – Part 13

Looking at Life Thru God's Glasses: Two Different Olympic Ceremonies – Part 13


The Olympics are famous for a lot of pageantry. Millions of people watch the opening ceremony as athletes of each nation walk together behind their nation’s flag.

The closing ceremony is different. The athletes don’t walk behind their own flag but enter at random with people from other nations. The idea was to represent that the Olympic Games end with bringing people from different nations together.

This tradition started in 1956 at the Melbourne Games. You might remember that high political tensions had caused several countries not to participate. Those games became famous when the water polo match between Hungary and the Soviet Union ended in a bloody fight. The contest had to be cancelled when the violence broke out.

A 17-year-old Australian of Chinese descent suggested in an anonymous letter that those games should end with people walking together as “only one nation.” The letter was sent to Kent Hughes, the chairman of the Melbourne Organizers’ Committee. He liked the idea, so the closing ceremony took place with people coming in together.

It wasn’t until 1986 that the writer of that letter was revealed as John Wing. When questioned about it, he said that he wanted history to show that the Olympics could go from “bloody” to the “friendly games.”

Our world today needs to go from competition that is producing bloodshed to community that can produce peace and harmony. We need less walking behind the flags of our own thoughts and positions and more reaching out to other people. We must learn to live together.

The word community is composed of two words – common and unity. Common refers to the fact that everybody is included. Unity refers to togetherness, teamwork, and solidarity, and that leads people to live in peace, civility, and love.

We have enough competition in the world – we need community. The One who can give community is God’s son, Jesus Christ. He died to bring all people into a new relationship with God so that all people could live together meaningfully. Jesus said, “God so loved the world. . . “ (John 3:16) The word “world” includes everybody. Only God can create a community in which people can live in peace.

Religious denominations need to quit competing and start cooperating in creating God’s community. Cities need to quit competing and focus on how we can improve all human relationships. Nations and races need to quit competing and discover the power of genuine Christian relationships. We need less opening ceremonies and more closing ceremonies!

An Australian of Chinese descent, John Wing, had a great idea for the Olympics. A Jewish carpenter had a greater idea for changing the understanding of relationships. Our world needs community. Our world needs to experience peace, respect, and love.

Let’s learn a lesson from watching the Olympics. Looking through human glasses, we see opening ceremonies focusing on competition for “our team.” Looking through God’s glasses, we see closing ceremonies, focusing on community for “all teams.”

Are you marching in the opening ceremony or the closing ceremony?

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