September 2012

From the Rectory

It is with mixed feeling for many that we now move on from the Olympic Games and our lives return to normal. There were without question wonderful sporting achievements, but oh so much of it to take in and also great pain and disappointment for those who felt they had not been at their best when it was most expected of them. The opening ceremony was dramatic and charming and very British. Team GB with their medal tally and new World and Olympic records make us all feel proud I’m sure.

But for me the abiding memory will be the comments about the volunteers, which without exception were congratulatory. Thousands of people who gave their time free of charge and who smiled and were kind and gracious to everyone they met. They showed to the world the kind and courteous face of this country. It showed the world what could be. It showed the world that Britain is deservedly entitled to call itself Great. Not in a triumphal way, but by being big enough to be willing to show humility and to laugh at itself. It was a relief and a joy to see countries from around the world gathered all together and working in harmony and enjoying each other’s company.

What a contrast to the scenes that we usually see broadcast, and how very sad to see at the same time other parts of the world engaged in civil war. People are instinctively good and the Olympic Games gave the opportunity for all to show just how good. The ministry of welcome and hospitality is something that all Christians are engaged in through their daily lives. Something that happens we hope, when people come to Church and are welcomed as they come through the door. The Sidesmen being the first friendly faces that they see. (We now have four new Sidesmen, ‘Welcomers’ - see following article) Christians are encouraged to go that extra mile, to compete not for a perishable garland but for an imperishable one.

God has given all of us gifts, all different. Not all can show sporting prowess, but we can all show love and affection, care and concern, appreciation and support. In 1908 at a service for Olympic champions led by Bishop Talbot he said, ‘The most important thing is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.’ That has become the Olympic Creed and it’s not a bad guide either for the Christian life. We can all love our neighbours and live Godly lives. We can all strive to be as good as we can be. That’s what it means to be Christian. Not to waste our talents or our love, but to share them. As God wills us to do. To do that not for a reward or for what we might gain from it, but for what we might give, what we might contribute. God bless you all in your Christian endeavours.

Yours for Christ's sake.