Kingdom Olympics

 by Peter Swann

I’m crazy about them, actually.

Shauna joins me in that craze, and every four years, we clamor around the TV and soak up every minute we can. Our lives are almost divided into four year segments. There were the 2000 Olympics, also known as the San Francisco students, barely-getting-by, newlywed Olympics. There were the 2004 Olympics, known as the African missionary, no-TV-in-the-mud-hut Olympics. Then there were the 2008 Olympics, known as the Houston, working, could-our-little-babies-ever-be-Olympians Olympics.

This year rolled around and found us in temporary housing. Soon, God willing, we’ll be in our new home just a stones’ throw from our focus area around 290 and the Beltway. But until then, friends have graciously given us a place to stay. One of the first things we did upon moving in? We popped up our antenna and prayed that it would pick up NBC. There was no little rejoicing in the Swann home when it did. After all, these are the Houston, church planting, soaking-up-all-God-is-doing Olympics.

One thing about the Olympics is that they are a glimpse of heaven. The Parade of Nations is like a roll call of heaven. Except the nations won’t come to compete, but to worship. The fighting, the warring, the struggle… it will all be over. The nations will come together to celebrate.

Every day in heaven will be like the opening ceremony. There are no losers in heaven, no second place. No flag dominates, except the flag of the King. And the only anthem played will be the anthem of worship.

So we war now, knowing we won’t war then. We struggle now, knowing we will rest then. We now press the Kingdom forward, knowing then we’ll simply worship the King of the Kingdom.

Yet for now, the Olympics remind us of our task. That much is clear, for Scripture has made it clear:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 ESV)

In a sense, we have our own Olympics… Kingdom Olympics. That’s what we war and wrestle for. These are Olympics with a prize far greater than gold. Our Olympics have urgency, and passion, and above all, the glory of our King. Our Olympics are for the salvation of the nations.

I love the Olympics. But nothing compares to Kingdom Olympics. The nations are waiting, heaven is coming, and global worship of our King awaits.