Last Friday night, my wife and I were among the billions around the world that watched the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. The historical and musical extravaganza presented by award-winning movie director Danny Boyle was amazing in many ways, but what really captured my attention was what happened when that celebration was finished—the parade of nations. Over 10,000 athletes from some 205 nations marched around the stadium celebrating the privilege of representing their countries in the greatest athletic competition in the world. The flags and national costumes each country presented were a reminder of the extraordinary diversity that makes up our world—with all the complications and wonder that diversity brings.
As I watched the world assemble together for the Games of the XXX Olympiad, however, I thought of another gathering from around the world that will be infinitely greater and more wondrous. This gathering has been described by the apostle John in Revelation 5:9-10, as he recorded the words of their praise:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
“Every tribe and tongue and people and nation” is a remarkable thought. This scene portrays that coming day when the global family of God, redeemed by Christ and His cross, will assemble before the throne of God to give worship to our Creator and Savior. It is part of the privilege of being a follower of Christ—for we are part of that extraordinary family. And we will forever celebrate that fact and worship the Christ whose cross made it possible!
So, over the next two weeks we will watch the Games, enjoy the Games, and even may find ourselves captivated by the Games. But, never forget, the greatest “parade of nations” humanity will ever know is yet to come. And it is all because of the salvation Christ purchased with His cross and resurrection. In the end and for all eternity, that is what we will celebrate.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain