really easy to get caught focusing on the gold, silver, and bronze medals decorating
the elite at the Olympic games. Take a
good look at the medals coming out of Tokyo this year. They are a marvel of intricate metal machine
work with ribbons of chemically recycled
polyester fibres and hardwood cases.
Obviously a lot of thought and care has gone into the metal tradition
that was started in 1896 at the Athens games.
(Click this for more info and a 1 minute Youtube video.)
|(photo from Olympics.com)|While
the detail, materials, and thought behind the metals has changed much over the
years, some traditions have changed little.
Take into account the symbol on the front of the medal, the Greek
goddess, Nike, who was the symbol of victory and often prayed to in battles of
war and sports alike. Nike is not known
for mercy and cooperation in Greek mythology, but was a sentinel of Zeus’
throne. Homer even calls her the
daughter of Ares, who is the God of war.
Here is a snippet from a prayer to Nike in from www.goddessnike.com
chariots strong & sturdy.
Vanquish without any
Enemies of our
And give to us a
medallions & jewelry
Everything that is
Is only ours by your
We worship thee on
The Goddess Nike is an ancient tradition of war & games victory which lacks
mercy & compassion. It’s an interesting modern choice 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.com, and Nike isn't even one of the twelve main
gods/goddesses worshipped in Greek culture.
has the world kept this tradition rather than honoring a diety that much of the
world follows today? Why not make the
medal symbol one of the Jesus, since approximately 32% (2.4 billion) of the
world claims Christianity as it's religion?
He also symbolizes victory and peace at the same time. I surmise choosing to honor Christ on the
Olympic medal could usher in boycotts from the world's 1.8 billion Muslims, or
1.1 billion Hindi's, or 1.2 billion unaffiliated. The Olympic committee would
likely be unwilling to alienate so many using an Olympic symbol from a modern
religion, even if it did promote more better the Olympic mission (to build a
peaceful and better world) than NIKE. (https://olympics.com/ioc/beyond-the-games)
we should focus more of our time and attention on the people on whom the medals
hang rather than the image on the prestigious medals themselves. I’m so
grateful for Olympic medal winners such as Caeleb Dressel (attends
Campus Church of Christ, Gainesville, FL) who chose not to honor and thank
goddess Nike for his 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 2016 Rio Olympian Sarah
Scherer whenever she gets nervous.
"Our Father in heaven,
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
symbol on the prestigious medals may not be anything we want to model our lives
after, but some of the people are worthwhile examples of faithful and
compassionate victors on the world’s greatest sporting stage. May we give the God of victory and compassion
all the honor & praise for the triumphs of the athletes and for our triumphs
To follow more believers in Tokyo, consider reading in The
Gospel Coalition’s about Sydney McLaughlin, Kyle Snyder, Helen Maroulis, Micah
Christenson, Michael Andrew, and Melissa Gonzalez. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christian-athletes-tokyo-olympics/
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength. Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself. If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website, www.christiscentral.org.