They used to call me Flash Nash. Yep, in 4th grade I participated in Field Day. By the end of all the events that day in May of 1971, I had a new nickname. I was a premature baby and was always a little on the tiny side. (Until I grew up!) Athleticism was never one of my strengths. I came in dead last on a relay where my dad and a few of his police officers were watching. Exhausted and embarrassed I ran to my daddy after the event, to find I had a new name. I laughed with them at the time, but couldn’t help but wish I could’ve placed somewhere, anywhere but last in that race. So, lovelies, when I invite you to walk with me in the footsteps of an Olympic athlete, I mean walk!
Walk with Me
On our recent Mediterranean cruise, 007 and I enjoyed visiting Olympia, Greece where the race started for all of time.
The park is filled with ruins from the early days of olympic competition. Archeological finds open the pages of history to an area originally dedicated to Zeus. However, Paul the apostle, talked about the race as an example of how we should run the race of life, as Christians.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
An Olympic Athlete
A stadium filled with witnesses for a race dedicated to a mythological god doesn’t compare to the true race of life. Our cloud of witnesses have won the race and received their prize. Not a wreath made of olive leaves, but the very presence of the ONE who ran in our place!
Life Tour Guides
Our tour guide, Julia, did an excellent job explaining the area around the Olympic Stadium. It occurred to me that Paul is one of our tour guides for running an excellent race.
We kept our eyes on Julia as we walked through the ruins. If she was lost in a crowd, we searched for the Brown #1 flag and there she was, steady and sure. Just like Paul instructed us to keep our eyes on the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, Julia helped us navigate through the ruins.
We marveled at how stones, columns and buildings were built by manpower only. No cranes, no machinery.
As we walked through the ruins, I compared them to my past. I imagined that this is what my life before Christ looked like. I’m so thankful that there are no archaeologists at work digging up my past. Christ buried it all.
Lighting the Torch
It doesn’t look like much in this picture, but this is where the olympic torch was lit.
Julia, was emphatic that this is NOT the place where the torch was lit. Many tourists take lots of photos of this spot and claim it is the “firepit”. She told us not to do that. So, I’m purposefully sharing with you that this is NOT where the torch started. This is a false light. Do not follow it.
I decided as I read over this history marker, that this is what I would have been a part of during the Olympic Games. I could have danced, held a match or a torch. (See *picture* below!) I would have loved the matching dresses and ceremonial routines.
Entering the Olympic Stadium
This is the entrance where both spectators and participants entered the stadium. The arch remains in tact.
This is where it all started and where it finished.
Proof we’ve started and finished an olympic “walk.”
The archway view as you exit the stadium. In that day, you either exited as a winner or a loser. No medals.
Carrying the Torch
And here is the *picture* I referenced above. I held a replica of the last olympic torch. As I looked up at where the fire would have blazed, once again I thought of Paul and his guidance for running a good race. I pray that we all let our light shine like the light of an olympic torch. Let’s pass it on from country to country, from runner to runner, from generation to generation.
And to all those participants who come in last… Those who get “loser” nicknames, be comforted!
“And indeed, some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.” ~ Luke 13:30
Sharing with these lovelies:
Life of Faith