READ: Revelation 14-15
THINK: If you’re anything like me, you kind of missed the Olympics last week after spending entirely too many hours during the previous few weeks watching people from all over the world do things that normally you don’t care about at all – like jumping really far down a hill on skis or throwing large circular rocks down some ice towards a bunch of other large circular rocks or sledding.
Every few years, especially after Winter Olympics because I am a snow and cold hater, I end up asking myself once the closing ceremony has finished, “What was so compelling about that? Like, seriously, I know that those people are incredible athletes who have put hours into perfecting their craft and I know that I like to watch sports, but I spend hours of my life sitting in front of a TV watching people skate really fast in a circle. Why did I do that?”
I think there is something to be said for watching the athletic spectacle of it all. It’s amazing to see people do incredible things and push their bodies to the limits. But I don’t think that’s the reason that billions of people around the globe tune in to the Olympics. At least not the biggest one. Because the truth is that those people participate in those sports year-round. They dedicate their time and their passion to them. And for the better part of every four years the same billions who are glued to TV sets during the Olympics care so little that the sports and competitions that are being held never cross their minds.
So why are the Olympics compelling? I think, above all else, it is because the whole world is there. It is because people from every tribe and nation, from every continent and every country, from every language and background come together to pursue a common purpose. And something about that blows our minds. It is simply amazing to see the world come together and to see everyone connect across the many barriers that usually prevent us from doing so. That’s why so many people watch the Opening Ceremony. It isn’t exactly compelling TV compared to what else is out there. It’s hour upon hour of people walking into a stadium. Sometimes all of the rings don’t even expand and light up properly. But billions of people tuned in to watch people walk, because it is so cool to see everyone coming together.
And I’d like to argue that part of the reason it’s so cool is that we were created for it. There’s a part of us, deep down inside, that is drawn to those moments and appreciates the fact that there is meaning to them because there is a part of us, deep down inside, that feels like that’s how things were meant to be. Maybe we’ve never been able to identify it before. Maybe we’ve never really stopped to think about it at all before. But there’s something about that connection across the boundaries of culture, language, and space at the Olympics that feels right.
It feels right because it is right. It is a glimpse, though a deeply imperfect one, of what God created the world to be. Before the fall, before sin entered in and drove wedges into our relationships with God and with one another, God’s perfect design was for all of his people – every single human on the planet – to live in community with one another. And then we messed it up. And now, other than the temporary illusion of that community we get with the Olympics, we are separated and divided.
But one day we will unite again. God is at work to set all things right and make all things new. And the book of Revelation gives us a picture of what it will look like one day when God restores things. One day, every person who has put their trust in Jesus from every tribe and every nation and every culture and every language – across the time and space that have so long divided us – will untie and worship God together in perfect community in the flawless new Jerusalem. God will reconcile relationships and we will live the way we were meant to live once again.
I don’t know about you, but that really pumps me up! I am excited for that piece inside of me that longs to experience community and connection to be filled up. I am excited to worship God alongside brothers and sisters from every country in the world in every language in the world. One day it will happen. That’s God’s promise. He is setting all things right.
PRAY: Thank God for the fact that you’ll one day get to experience community in the way you were designed to experience it. Praise him for his work to reconcile people to himself and to one another. And pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe – many of whom are facing far more difficult situations than we are – that God would encourage them and lift them up as they spread the gospel where they are.