Thursday, August 11, 2016

Living Lesson: Who do you honor?

Who do you honor?

Take a good look at the Olympic medals coming out of Rio this year.  They are a marvel of intricate metal machine work with ribbons made from 50% recycled materials and hardwood cases from sustainable forests.  Obviously a lot of thought and care has gone into the metal tradition that was started in 1896 at the Athens games. (Click this youtube link to enjoy a 44 second video overview)

While the detail, materials, and thought behind the metals has changed much, some traditions have changed little.  Take into account the symbol on the front of the medal, such as the Greek goddess, Nike, who was the symbol of victory and often prayed to in battles of war and sports alike.  Here is a snippet from a prayer to Nike in from  

"Charge our chariots strong & sturdy.

Vanquish without any mercy
Enemies of our valiant army
And give to us a divine glory
Furnished with medallions & jewelry
Everything that is worldly
Is only ours by your decree
We worship thee on bended knee."

I find it odd that we choose this ancient tradition lacking mercy & compassion for the medals at the largest worldwide competition existing today because so few believe in the ancient Greek pantheon.  "Hellenism" may have as many as 2,000 legitimate adherents today according to archeology.com1, and Nike isn't even one of the twelve main gods/goddesses worshipped. 

Why not make the medal symbol one of the Father, Son, & Spirit since approximately 32% (2.2 billion) of the world claims Christianity as it's religion?   I surmise choosing to honor Christ on the Olympic medal could usher in boycotts from the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, or 1 billion Hindi's, and the Olympic committee would likely be unwilling to alienate that many of the world's 5.8 billion religious adherents2.

This makes me all the more grateful for Olympic medal winners such as Steele Johnson, David Boudia, or Caeleb Dressel (Campus Church of Christ, Gainesville, FL)3 who chose not to honor and thank goddess Nike for their wins and abilities, but chose to honor God for the opportunity to represent Him to the world.  Consider how much more merciful our God is than that of Nike, as evidenced in this prayer, recited by Rio Olympian Sarah Scherer whenever she gets nervous 4.
  "Our Father in heaven,
Caleb Dressel writes scripture references on his cheeks.

hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil." - Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

May we give the God of mercy and compassion all the honor & praise in our triumphs of life. 

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