Inspire a Generation?
Three golds in an hour, six in a day. And then defeat in a penalty shootout.
A little inspiration is great. Compared with a year ago when the warm London evenings were marked by the fires of rioters, things look a lot more promising. We need examples. We need people to follow, and to be honest the hard graft of an elite athlete makes for a better example than the B-list celebrities of normal Saturday night reality TV. This was reality on TV in another league.
But, will an example do? What power does an example have?
And was it really the power of example that made us urge Mo home round those final 400 metres?
Is there something more and better to learn from our champions?
Is the real power here in seeing a hero, a champion who does what we ourselves cannot do? We instinctively own their victory, but we played no active part in the Heptathlon. I’ve never run anywhere near 10K in my life, and my best attempt at the long jump would leave a good impression in the plasticine.
We didn’t qualify for these races.
We didn’t participate in them.
We wouldn’t have won, we couldn’t have won.
But one of us did.
The real power of our Olympic Champions is precisely that they’ve done what we haven’t and couldn’t do and will not ever be able to do. The way they’ve beaten their bodies into submission, the way they’ve died to themselves for the joy ahead of them.
How much more with Jesus!
Inspiring Adam to greater things is a noble cause. It does some good if no ultimate good. I genuinely hope a generation are inspired to run, to jump, to cycle, to row. If the rain ever stops I’ll get my trainers on and get running.
But, finding and entrusting yourself to the second Adam is salvation. Jesus is our champion, the one who has won the race we couldn’t even qualify for. He certainly inspires me to run, but before he does that he triumphs for me.
Having Jesus as our Head forever is good news. Jess and Greg and Mo were for an exhilarating hour on Saturday night echoes of Jesus’ victory, latching onto the longing we have for The One who can win for us, whose legacy will never fade.