Olympics: “A picture of the Kingdom of Heaven”

They say that when the Kingdom of Heaven, or God’s perfection, reaches its fulfilment in humanity, there will be unity of all mankind. All nations and colours and races will join together. Well, for me, then, the Olympics were a taste of what is to come.

On the first day of the games, I saw some friends who had just come back from attending a competition. They had had so much fun, meeting the athletes and their families, taking pictures, even doing an interview for some media outlet. Up to that point, I hadn’t even entertained the thought of attending a game myself – I thought just being in London during the games was enough. But their excitement and happiness – one of them said that it was one of those moments when a dream you didn’t dare dream came true anyway – made me a bit nostalgic. Then… they told me there were still tickets on sale!

Wow! So I went home and checked, and sure enough, there were. They weren’t cheap, but they were there. Being that I don’t yet have much of a network of friends in London, though, I figured that to attend would mean attending alone. So between price and lonely-awkwardness, I wasn’t sure if I should do it.

So I posed the question, whether I should do it, on Facebook, as one does.

I expected most people to tell me, “absolutely, go for it!”, but a few people to jump in with cynical and snide remarks about corporate interests or some other aspect of the Olympics which I’d want to not affiliate with.

But no. I got lots of the positive encouragement answers, and not a single cynical remark. This so rarely happens in our world, including among my friends, so I figured I should go for it (it helped that my Dad decided he wanted in, so he’d come to town to join me for a game). I was able to score tickets to Women’s Team Foil Fencing.

And do you know what? It really was a happy day, starting with getting off the train: about three dozen volunteers were situated in strategic locations with big pink foam fingers. They had offered to spend the day standing in their allotted spot pointing in the direction of the venue, so all us games-goers would find our way. One was dancing. Another told us, proudly, “No one will get lost as long as I’m here!” Did you know there are 70,000 volunteers helping to manage the Games?

The cheering was fantastic, especially the French and the Italians. The queues were long but it was hard to mind. Even the pink motif that has blanketed the whole city seems to have a happy feel to it. I know victory is really, really important to many people, but for most of us in the stands, it seemed that just participating in a global and historical event was what really mattered.

(this is a photo from Reuters that is all over the Internet) The bearers of the Olympic in the Opening Ceremony was a particularly poignant illustration of how the Olympics are to symbolize something that crosses the divides us humans set up. I don’t know all of these figures, maybe you do? The flag was carried by the following champions of peace: Shami Chakrabarti, Ban-ki Moon, Doreen Lawrence, Leyma Gbowee, Sally Becker, and three other people who I haven’t identified; they were also joined by Muhammad Ali. Their stories all sound amazing.

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