Olympic Series: the Race of Grace 2:Opening Themes & Parallels

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Olympic Series: the Race of Grace 2:Opening Themes & Parallels

Post  fennywest on Mon 30 Jul 2012, 9:50 am

Olympics (Race of Grace2):

The Olympic Stadium before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Opening Lessons of Life

The Olympic Stadium as the Red Arrrows fly overhead.

All of life is a school from which we can learn lessons of life if we look careful and hear events speak, even echo, or reinforce the Word of Life. So what are the lessons from the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Olympics and Race of Grace Themes

A time for showing
After seven years of preparation and spending £27 million out of 10billion ( for opening alone), Friday July 27th was the D-day for London to show its mettle to the world after winning that highly contested bid to host the greatest show on earth. The world will not accept excuses. All eyes were on London to pull off something unique, spectacular and wonderful.

What parallel do we have for this?
Every believer needs to be reminded that there is a Day of reckoning for us all when we shall all appear before
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.2Cor5:10

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.1Cor3:10-15

The preparation made is currently under close scrutiny as the game is underway.
There have been mixed reviews about the opening ceremony with a majority proud of the ingenuity and creativity of Danny Boyle for weaving in the Industrial Revolution and the NHS and the Queens acting debut role as a bond girl. The overenthusiastic is clamouring of a knighthood for him.

We too will be under close scrutiny as indicated above to how well we have built or run our race of grace.

Lord, open our eyes to see how we build and what we build so that we would not lose our rewards, in Jesus’ Name.
Empty Seats

Volunteers: Unsung Heroes

When you see the glitz, glamour and razzmatazz opening ceremony you may be fooled into focusing on the main performers but behind these key performers were thousands of volunteers not seen and not named and certainly not paid. Most of these have sacrificed their time and money for some months, to be trained to be involved during the games.
We understand that there are about 10000 volunteers who should be commended for their sacrificial roles. The whole show should therefore be seen as a team effort and so everyone is important to make the show a success.
2 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body --- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free --- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Suspense: Surprises2: Mystery Revealed!

The stems forming the Olympic cauldron are lit by seven young athletes.

Lighting of the Olympic cauldron was a closely guarded secret. People expected and betted it would a celebrity: Sir Steve Redgrave, Roger Bannister, David Beckham Daley Thompson or some other celebrity. Bookmakers took bets upon bets from people who knew they would win somehow, picking one or two of the big names and splashing money on them. They were all disappointed and left penniless and reeling as if robbed, as the cauldron was lit by seven unknown but promising young athletes.
It reminds me that on that Day the focus will not be on anyone of us but on Him. It is not about us but about Him. He must increase and we must decrease.
Talk of surprises! We too we be greeted with surprises in heaven. Some people we think will not be there will take centre stage.
6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the LORD's anointed is before Him!"
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these."
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here."
12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!"

David on the day of his first anointing was a nonentity in the eyes of his father, but he was God’s choice to the surprise of his brothers, his father and even Prophet Samuel. But for the fact that he was being obedient and sensitive in the spirit, he would have missed God’s choice.
We too will be greeted with some surprises because some big shots that we expect to take centre stage might not make it to the podium and others we thought were nobodies would be called from the back to the front. The first shall be the last and the last, the first.
Her Majesty, as a Bond Girl? No!

The other surprise of the opening ceremony was the Queen’s acting debut as a Bond Girl. In the year of her Diamond Jubilee the staging of the Olympics here in London is like the icing on the cake for her. Danny Boyle added glamour to the opening by thinking of Her Majesty, the Queen adapting to modernity by acting as a Bond Girl- not with a look alike, but in person.

An actor dressed to as the Queen parachutes into the stadium

It reminds me of how Jesus abandoned His reputation and came down to identify with us and laid down his life for us; became one of us; the sinless became sin that we might be the righteousness of God in Him. (Phil2:5-11, 2Cor5:21)
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.Phil2:7
May I emphasize here that my focus here is the abandoning of glory and reputation- royalty identifying with the common man and modernity that Daniel Craig and James Bond represents. We all know that Jesus was unique and of a class of His own. He is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. He was God who became man that man may come to God. ( Isa7:14,-9:6-7)

Just posing for the scene would have been unusual, but to get her to speak like a Bond Girl would have made the day of Danny Boyle, and this made that part very humorous and unique.

‘"Good evening Mr Bond," said the Queen, not the faintest suggestion in her countenance that this was anything out of the ordinary.
"I'll say it again. 'GOOD EVENING, MR BOND'," said the Queen.
She was dressed in pink, as she would be at the opening ceremony.’

Historical and NHS Theme

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A child jumps on a hospital bed during the Great Ormond Street Hospital scene in the opening ceremony.

The jury is still out as to the singling out of the NHS for celebration in the opening ceremony. Many still do not get it or do not agree that it merits it more so in the face of the crisis it is going through at the moment, where privatization element is being weaved in because of the huge chunk of the national budget it takes. I will leave you to agree or disagree.
What this theme reminds me however, is that we as believers often forget that Jesus did not only die for our sins but He also took our infirmities, pains and sicknesses.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Jesus is our Great Physician, our Healer. It is will to heal and He heals even in 2012. We need to accept this truth, confess it pray it into our lives before we are sick and when we are sick and expect God to honour His word:
3 John 2; Ex.15:26; 23;25-26; Jer.30;17; Lk.5:17; Acts 4:29-30,Acts10:38, Matt8:1-8
We need to celebrate our Divine Healing Service and covenant and take God’s word as true. And the more we take it by faith and internalise it the more it will work for us. If we are ignorant or careless then we would be cheated out of our inheritance.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.Hosea4:6
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
It need to be emphasized here however that healing is the bread of the children. You have to be saved before you can rightfully latch on to the healing covenant otherwise this scripture will work against you. Besides you will not have the confidence and faith that you need to be healed. ( Heb4:16)
16 But to the wicked God says: " What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth,
17 Seeing you hate instruction And cast My words behind you?Ps50:16-17

Healing Prayer:

Historical and the Industrial Revolution Theme

Danny Boyle tried to underline the pivotal role Britain played in the industrial revolution to remind us of where we are coming from and to inspire us about the future regardless of the current downturn. Some said it put ‘Great’ back into Britain. Mayor Boris Johnson said he was babbling like a baby in tears.
We too need to be reminded that our history as Christians is important. If we know where we are coming from it will hold us in good stead for the future. In my boyhood days, I did not consider History as important but that perspective has changed.
The Book of Acts gives us the birth of the Church and its history we also have Church history of the centuries that followed up till now.
We need to be reminded from time to time of the Azuza Street Holy Spirit visitation which heralded the modern day Pentecostalism and the Welsh Revival of 1900s. God did incredible things where whole communities were touched and revived to His glory. He is still building His Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. We need to seek His face wholeheartedly and cry like, Watchman of Scotland: John Knox: ‘"Give me Scotland else I die!".’
God has raised firebrands with tongues of fire before and He can do the same even today with you and I.
Listen to some the firebrands and believe God for today:
"Let's quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ." Billy Sunday
“Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
"Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all." Hudson Taylor
"The scriptures are given not to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives." Dwight L. Moody

"We have a God who delights in impossibilities." Billy Sunday

"The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor"
Charles Stanley
Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.” D. L. Moody
"Faith is to rest, not in the best of God's servants, but in His unchanging Word." H. A. Ironside
"It is a sad and shocking fact that many religious people are in Hell." John R. Rice
"It is not enough to do God's work; it must be done in His way and for His credit." Erwin Lutzer
"We must all have the spirit of martyrdom, though we may not all die martyrs." George Whitefield
"If you have no joy, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere." Billy Sunday
"There is no sin that cannot be covered by God's grace." Jim Bishop
Surely we have a heritage to be reminded of and to celebrate. We can also use these as reference point when we pray: ‘Lord, You did it in the lives of these. You can do it again. Use me Lord i am wholly available.’
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.2Chro.7:14
" Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.

16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
6 So he answered and said to me: " This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ' Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

Would this whet your appetite?
‘The Welsh Revival (1904–1905) was the largest Christian revival in Wales during the 20th century. While by no means the best known of revivals, it was one of the most dramatic in terms of its effect on the population, and it had repercussions that reached far beyond the Welsh border, triggering a series of revivals in other countries. “The movement kept the churches of Wales filled for many years to come, seats being placed in the aisles in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea for twenty years or so, for example. Meanwhile, the Awakening swept the rest of Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, North America, the mission fields of India and the Orient, Africa and Latin America’
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
6 " For I am the LORD, I do not change; ...
27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
We saw the industrial revolution
‘Mystery had surrounded who would perform the ceremonial event, with Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Roger Bannister and Daley Thompson all tipped as contenders - but the honour was handed to seven talented young athletes.’
The ceremonial cauldron was lit by seven young British athletes

Watched by more than 1billion worldwide seeing the same thing; same will happen when Jesus comes we shall all see him all over the globe

Multiculturalism and heavens colours

Over 14000 athletes from 205 countries will be competing in- 300 events in 26 sports over 17 days. How diverse! This is apart from the multicultural theme woven into the opening where the host has displayed its multinational credentials by featuring all the nationalities represented in modern day Britain in its dancers and other performers.
What we saw reminds us of the picture Apostle John paints in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation:

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

It also reminds me of the Louis’ Armstrong’s Song: ‘O when the saints go marching in.’
Songwriters: BLACK, BILL
We are traveling in the footsteps
Of those who've gone before
But we'll all be reunited (but if we stand reunited)
On a new and sunlit shore (then a new world is in store)

Oh when the saints go marching in
When the saints go marching in
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

When the revelation (revolution) comes
When the revelation (revolution) comes
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
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The Opening Song: Jerusalem theme

In this song the songwriter William Blake uses Jerusalem as a metaphor for heaven where he paints a utopia that will be when He comes to establish His Kingdom of peace and love.
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.Rev21:1-3
Out of darkness shall come light as in Genesis1
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say, " Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Opening Song
Base on poem written by William Blakes
Artist: Matisyahu
Song: Jerusalem (Out of Darkness Comes Light)
Album: Youth

Capo 1

Em C G D x2

In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way
We've been traveling from state to state
And them don't understand what they say
3,000 years with no place to be
And they want me to give up my milk and honey
Don't you see, it's not about the land or the sea
Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty

Chorus: x2
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do

Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
We were burned in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
So they come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be


Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
Don't you know it's just a phase, cause of the Simon says
If I forget the truth then my words won't penetrate
Babylon burning in the place, can't see through the haze
Chop down all of them dirty ways,
That's the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
No way, not ok, oh
No way, not ok, hey

Aint no one gonna break my stride
Aint no one gonna pull me down x2
Oh no, I got to keep on moving

Chorus x2

Em C
Jerusalem If I forget You
Jerusalem If I forget You
Em C
Jerusalem If I forget You
Jerusalem If I forget You

Are you looking forward to the New Jerusalem?

The Struggle between Life and Death

British singer Emeli Sande performs during a scene dramatising the struggle between life and death in the Opening Ceremony.

This was another theme woven into the opening ceremony.
That is the message of the word of God. Man fell and died spiritually- separated from God. He was deceived by the devil to disobey God. And so through one man sin and death entered the world. But god in His mercy sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to come and pay the penalty of sin, by dying of the cross in our place so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting live.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.Rom5:12
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Yes, there is a struggle between life and death. Choose life and live!

©Fenny West2012
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