Ever wonder what happens to the Olympic sites after the fact? After all the cameras have pursued, dreams have taken flight, Olympian hearts pumped to the limit, medals and flags lifted high, tears and cheers shared within a common ground. Then the curtain is drawn, performers and spectators looking toward the next site to carry tomorrow’s torch. The Atlantic Cities gives us a peek into former Olympic host Sarajevo.
“…After taking second place in the giant slalom race on February 14, 1984, 21-year-old Jure Franko stood on this concrete podium as the first and only member of the home team to receive an Olympic medal when the city of Sarajevo, then of Yugoslavia, hosted the Winter Olympics. Eight years later, this same podium would be the site of a more grisly event, the executions of countless victims of the Bosnian War and Siege of Sarajevo… Touring through the mountainous Olympic venues, Pack (photographer) has noticed a number of signs warning of areas likely containing still-live landmines; they’re a unique legacy for a former Olympic site, and understandably disconcerting.”
We see the inevitable drama of mankind unfold. A place once celebrated as a place of peace, the unifying of many nations reaching for a prize, later torn by the divisive hatred and empty sorrows that set nation against nation. We envision, we inspire, we meet, we shake hands, and for the moment all is well. Then the camera drops, and from behind the curtain come jealousies, self-righteousness, greed, and oppression. We would be right to label such evils as the curse of mankind. Romans 8:19 says it this way: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
As a Christian, we find consolation in the promise of future peace, the end of the curse. Even as we follow the Israelites through their times of rising and falling, we get glimpses of an ultimate future promise.
Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Sinful as we are, God continually speaks to the human heart, planting seeds of brighter dreams. Sometimes history itself presents us with a glimpse of future hope. China’s former Olympic site perhaps presents an example.
“China opted for a different approach with its National Aquatic Center. The space, dubbed the ‘Water Cube’ and the venue where in 2008 Michael Phelps won eight gold medals, is now the Happy Magic Water Cube Water Park. It’s got water rides, spa pools and 13 water slides, according to CNN. The bright blues and oranges and pinks — intended to denote an underwater theme — look almost psychedelic.” – Today.com
Someday, God, the great engineer, will remake our world the way He intended it to be. Imagine a new earth, inhabited by transformed men and women with incorruptible bodies. Incorruptible means they won’t break down under weather, stress, gravity, age… Incorruptible also means the spirit doesn’t give way to anger, pride, jealousy, spite… I wonder who will reach the peak of Mount Everest first, and who will get the best time skiing to its foot? No matter, we’ll have plenty of time to practice. All cheering from the sidelines, no shattered bones, no shattered hopes. Whatever medals we earn, we’ll lift them up to the One True King, our eternal burning light for unending venues, in our eternal home.
Until then, it’s up to us who know Christ, to continue passing the undying flame, one torch to another, one heart to another.