If you were fortunate to be at one of the Olympic Games that is a real privilege. The whole experience to share with thousands of others the successes of athletes, cheering them on, or sharing your sorrows with others over those that lost is indeed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had that privilege in 2012, in London!
Besides the thousands of athletes the success of the Games is due to the very sizable (over 70,000 general, and some 16,000 specialist) volunteers, the Game Makers!
A cheery lot of all ages, ethnic groups, genders, and nationalities. They were the ones that greeted you with a huge smile as soon as you got off the train in London and guided you along the way to the Olympic venues. They were on duty for eight hours a day, and many of them have done much longer shifts than that. They were always cheerful, and helpful, although sometimes not necessarily knowledgeable, but there was always someone around that actually knew the answer to your enquiry. They were just as happy looking, although exhausted at 11:00pm at night as they were at the beginning of the day, thanking you for your visit and wishing you a safe journey home. They were happy to pose for a photograph and share a song or a joke. They were fantastic! I imagine they are the same at each Olympic Games. They deserve to have an Olympic Portrait, for they were the ones that hold the Games together, sustaine the carnival feel of the events.
The legacy of the Games is often mentioned around the Olympics, and many are wondering what that legacy might be. I hope that part of that legacy will be the spirit of the Volunteers. Not all of us are athletic, competitive, or outstanding. But we all can be kind, helpful, and supportive. Whatever we might do we should do it with a cheerful spirit, with a smile, with an effort to make someone else’s day. After all Christians have the Good News to share with others to make their day, even beyond that, to make their LIFE. Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23)
In the church, by the way, we are all volunteers! We all are Game Makers, Church Makers! I want to thank you all that are volunteering, participating in the life of the church. Often your activities are not in the limelight, sometimes you must be there early, well before everyone else arrives to set things up; and now and then you have to stay behind after everyone else has gone home to clean up; or assemble, deliver, meet, lead, plan, remind, teach, pray, support, and organise. And perhaps someone else gets the praise, while behind the scenes your work and smile were essential for that achievement, or success! The amazing thing is that I can’t remember the races, the scores of the games I have attended at the London Olympics nine years ago, but I remember how the volunteers made me feel, welcomed, safe and happy! For many who come to church your smile, kind word, the fact that you listened to them, spoke to them, or prayed with them will mean far more than the sermon! For they met Jesus in a very real way in you!
I want to thank you all members, volunteers, Church Makers of SSCB for your smiles, helpfulness, dedication, and patience in everything that you do to make this church a friendly place, a happy place, a family of God’s people. As we are slowly moving out of the COVID Pandemic this is particularly important.
THANK YOU! Without you it is not possible! And we know the Games for us as Christians are not over, we need to keep on smiling, helping, caring, loving, and volunteering doing God’s work for His glory and for His people. So take the legacy, and make this church His church, and our church!