Friday, January 29, 2010

Illuminated by the Flame

Posted by Leona Bergstrom (from an article written in her capacity as Co-Director, Converge Worldwide 2nd 1/2 for Him)

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are in a major countdown mode as we await the launch of the 2010 Olympic Games in the grand city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Sitting in my office, just 100 miles south of where the opening ceremonies will be held, I am fascinated by the preparations and can't wait to glue myself to the TV to watch the competition. But, today I am even more intrigued by the grand torch relay.

Did you realize that the Olympic torch, having left Athens Greece on October 30, will travel over 45,000 kilometers, through 1,000 communities? And, at the end of its 106-day run, over 12,000 torchbearers will have carried it?

It's incredible. The torch will make its way to the most remote community of Alert, Nunavut, the northernmost inhabited community in the world, and end in the huge international city of Vancouver. All along its route, people will cheer its arrival and celebrate its significance. The torchbearers are of all ages, races and backgrounds. During the last week of December a young man injured in a serious hockey accident in 2003 carried the torch. He later became a member of the 2008 Paralympic wheelchair rugby team and his participation as a torchbearer in the relay inspired all who watched from the sidelines. The stories are as fascinating as they are diverse.

I cannot help but compare this to the grand relay of Christianity being run across the globe. I like to think that people in the second half of life are the most vital and critical torchbearers as we carry the flame of faith from generation to generation. Our stories are filled with varied experiences, accomplishments, failures, victories and defeats. We run with our eyes focused toward that great city of heaven, and our hearts are illuminated with the flame of faith.

Certainly this is no time to sit down, and it's definitely not the time to let the flame go out. (Who would want to take on a extinguished torch?) We each need to run  with lives blazing brightly, ready to relinquish the torch with enthusiasm and good will. Like the cheering Canadian communities waiting for the opportunity to celebrate the handoff, churches should also celebrate the lives and contributions of people of all ages.

The Olympic flame has a sacred history and symbolizes the principles of peace, brotherhood and friendship.   The flame we carry is also sacred. It is the fire of the Spirit of God and it comes with a message of love, joy, peace and hope.

Let the games begin!
(Photo by jbcurio, shared via Flickr)

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