Closing Ceremony

“All is well when ends well” – they say. There is much truth in it. If an event or project ends well, all the effort, all the hard work, and discipline were worthwhile, and we all can celebrate.

The 32nd Olympic Games will end on Sunday, 8 August in Tokyo. It was a strange event in strange times, but it was a great event, it is worth to be celebrated.

Pierre de Coubertin reinvented the Olympic games in the 19th century with the purpose to increase friendly understanding among nations. Sadly, it did not work out that way, due to human sinfulness, cheating, and arguments.

The 16th Olympic Games took place in Melbourne, Australia in 1956. Although it was a very successful event, at the end there were quite a number of people and nations who were left with much bitterness, anger, and resentment.

The water polo final between Hungary and the Soviet Union was later renamed ‘Bloodbath of Melbourne’. It was a hostile match because a few months earlier in 1956 the Soviet Army quenched the Hungarian Revolution, killing some 2000 people, and imprisoning many more! Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon refused to compete because Egypt had been invaded by Britain, France, and Israel (The Suez Canal Crisis). The Chinese government were unhappy about Taiwan taking part. It looked like not all will be well at the end.

But something that was not planned by the organisers, has happened. A seventeen-year-old Chinese boy, living in Australia, John Ian Wing, wrote a letter to one of the organisers.

He did not sign the letter, for being afraid getting his parents into trouble. His suggestion impressed the organisers, and they rearranged the closing ceremony. John suggested that the athletes should not march in their national teams with their flags at the closing ceremony, continuing to highlight division, rather they should just walk mixing together as fellow athletes, becoming ONE NATION. “War, politics, and nationality will be all forgotten. What more could anybody want…” wrote John.

So that’s what happened and happens since at closing ceremonies.

However, this hasn’t stopped countries and nations from fighting each other. But the closing ceremony gives a hint of how things should really be.

The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians:

“You are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ… There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Paul testifies to the power of God’s love that can drive out pride, anger, and hatred. Through Christ people can reconcile to each other and live a new life in union with Christ and one another. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. We need to begin to behave and act like that!

[from GV, based on ‘Who Comes First?’ by Chris Hudson]

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