My television set won't be turned off much for the next couple of weeks. Without fail watching the Olympics brings me a rare joy and evokes so many wonderful memories of watching with my family as a kid. Good clean fun as my Mom used to say!
There's something extraordinary about the Olympics - about what they represent - and there's also something extraordinary about what every athlete who competes in the Olympic Games has done to get there. But this year the inspiration level is, well, off the hook. In a sad but monumental first in Olympic history those who are following all now know the amazing journey of Syrian Yusra Mardini and her fellow refugee teammates from the South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.
At prayer time in Children's Chapel at St. Alban's yesterday parishioner Mary Beth invited us to pray for the safety of the Olympians and for all who are attending the 31st summer games in Brazil. Let's all do as much. Before the games started Pope Francis (he's a thinker) wrote a touching letter to the members of the first Refugee Olympic team hoping that "[their] courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity." Amen to that. I've wondered, should one from the refugee team strike gold, what flag shall be raised? Whose anthem shall be sung?
Perhaps an anthem for the world? In that spirit, let us pray:
Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AMEN.