Spiritual Practice

Olympic Celebrations

Rachel Starr Thomson

I was at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics—not at any of the games but within sight of the Olympic flame. Christian artists from all over Canada came to the Olympics to bring music, dance, and poetry to the streets of Vancouver as a welcome to the world and as a witness to Christ. I’ve never been so proud to be Canadian.

In an old downtown Baptist church and in a women’s shelter in the worst part of Vancouver, we saw another side of the Olympics. When the games come to a city, poor neighborhoods may be leveled to make room. Generally, homelessness increases. Sex slaves are brought into the country in record numbers. Just beneath the excitement, the hospitality, and the joy of the whole world’s coming together is an underside of exploitation and poverty.

They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.
Galatians 2:10 (NRSV)

Being a witness for Christ in the midst of this is especially important. Though the world may overlook the downtrodden, Jesus doesn’t. In the kingdom of God, the whole world is called together to celebrate Christ’s reign and righteousness; and the poor are welcomed, rescued, and made strong. Events like the Olympics are a vivid reminder that in God’s kingdom, we all have a reason to celebrate.


PRAYER: God, you lift up the poor, free the oppressed, and heal the brokenhearted. Teach us to live and to celebrate in ways that witness to your coming kingdom. Amen.

—from devozine (July/August 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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