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Pause for Thought: We are the champions

Recently I entered a Radio 2 competition to present Pause for Thought.  Unfortunately I didn't win, but what a consolation prize: meeting Vanessa Feltz at the final!

Here's my round one entry: We Are The Champions...


We Are The Champions

It’s official, the Olympomania Geiger counter has gone nuclear.  As an Australian who’s lived half his life in the UK I’ve undergone a bit of a conversion experience, I’ve been caught up in Team GB hysteria.  For the last fortnight I’ve been, in the words of Dylan Moran, ‘roaring advice at the best athletes in the world.’ And when you catch yourself screaming at the planet’s greatest sportsmen: “NOT LIKE THAT!” you realize you’ve been gripped by something bigger than yourself. There is a deep connection between us and the athletes – they are our champions.

Just this Friday, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, published a poem about the Olympics with the line: “We are Mo Farah lifting the 10 000m gold”.  And on one level that’s just ridiculous.  I’m not Mo Farah, I’m part-man, part-sofa. Brushing my teeth is about as aerobic as I like to get.  But there’s something deeper going on.  Our champions belong to us and their victory is our victory though we haven’t expended a calorie of effort.

And here is the very heart of Christian faith.  You see I’m probably like you – I’m an arm-chair critic when it comes to life.  I talk a good game, but my own performance is laughable by comparison.  Step forward our Champion, Jesus.  He comes at Christmas as our representative, wearing the colours of Team Earth.  He lives our life for us, He dies our death for us, faces off against our biggest enemy – the grave – and beats it hands down.  Now His victory is our victory – though we have not expended a calorie of effort.

Put it like this:  If Usain Bolt is my competitor, I have no chance.  If he’s my Champion, I can’t lose.

If you think God just sets you standards, then of course you’re going to fall short. But Christianity says there’s a Champion.  And if He’s your Champion, you can rejoice like an Olympomanic long after the Games have gone.  Because His victory is your victory.



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