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sad realization

Goodbye Beijing, hello Denver!

It hit me Sunday night while watching the incredible display put on by the Chinese people at the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics.  

The last three weeks have been absolutely dominated by the Olympic games, the morning shows, the morning programming, afternoon programming, evening news, and prime time all revolved around Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, the sprite-ly gymnastics team, the medal count – and I have loved every minute of it.  

No, I don’t buy into the great lengths that the Communist Party in China went to in order to convince the world that all is well in their nation.  No, I don’t gloss over the horrible things that the government does on a daily basis to their own citizens – violations of human rights and making every attempt to crush freedom of religious worship. No, the lush HD images did not blind me to the reality behind the system that forcibly made all of those gold medal winning athletes.

But I loved the Olympics and I loved Beijing.  I loved seeing the city during the marathons and admiring the Great Wall.  I loved the competitive spirit and the drive to excellence.  In Beijing, the Olympics are a monument of how great the greatest of humanity can be – and how weak we can truly be.

We can pour every ounce of our  effort, thought, passion, and money into greatness, but even when we achieve our greatest dream – the gold metal or the greatest Olympic games in modern history – we cannot do it all.

The Olympics are about human nature being painted on an epic scale.  The Olympics show the great potential of people who are created in the image of God to achieve greatness.  The Olympics also show us the reality of our sinfulness, our depravity, our brokeness.  

Now the Olympics are over and – unfortunately – Beijing is no longer in the spotlight.  Now we move to Denver, where the Democratic National Convention will be at the center of our American world for the next week or so.

While I have little love for politics, regardless of the party being considered, they are similar to the Olympics.  There is such a hope for victory, for conquest, an aching for “our candidate” to win the race.  

Just like the gold metals of Beijing, however, we all know that the road to human attainment is stained with the guilt of many transgressions.

We are a people of great tension.  We are paradoxes, little mysteries – this world of humanity.  Such potential for greatness.  Such potential for disappointment, for failure, for falling short.

At the Olympics, we hope and herald the ability of sport to save our world from its wars, its hatred, its strife.  In the political arena, we herald and hope for a new day in America, a leader who will save us from our hardships, our wars, ourselves.

Alas, it is not to be.

Israel longed for a Messiah, a Savior who would be a Warrior and a King.  They got him, he came. But he was not what they wanted, his conquest was not the one they were expecting – or that they really wanted.

Not much has changed.  

In this month of Olympic heros and political saviors, see through the hype and realize that, ultimately, another sporting competition and another election is not enough to save this world – we need something more dramatic, more powerful. more revolutionary.

We need God to become a man, to die for our sins, and to rise from death.  We need him to return – thats our only hope.  We need Jesus.

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  1. August 26, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks Lee, I agree.

    I realized this morning that my daily morning drive listening to NPR is going to necessarily change. I like hearing about the world, and the Olympics, and random inane stories, but not all Obama Radio. Bummer.

    Maybe it’s for the best that “Britain is reposessing the U.S.” Of course when Josh Anderson read that funny commentary, his comment was that he thinks the Queen has a crush on Uncle Sam. Only Josh.

  2. leewilson7170
    August 26, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Josh is a special individual – man I like him a lot. He really needs a camera crew following him around.

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