All right.  I’ll confess.  I watch every second of the Olympics that I can possibly squeeze into my schedule.  Every four years, I am more tired than at any other time in my life.  One night last week, I stayed up all night watching volleyball, basketball, track and field, and (promise not to tell anyone?) synchronized swimming.

It might be good for us to step out of the grand festivities and give the whole movement a little thought.  For example, it is estimated that China spent over $40,000,000,000 USD on their part of the Olympics.  That is forty billion dollars!  It is easy to estimate that well over $100,000,000,000 USD was spent by all the nations involved, not counting all of the training expenses.

I have two thoughts.  First, the Olympics may be international relations at their finest.  The world pauses to celebrate the capacities of the human being.  Part of the phenomena may be the fact that athleticism speaks every language.  Speed is speed in every language.  Accuracy is accuracy.  Endurance is endurance.   Just think, if mankind can create opening ceremonies, athletic events, and closing ceremonies so fantastic, how mind boggling good will God’s heavenly celebration be?  In one sense the Olympics are a tiny foretaste of the glorious heavenly celebration.

My second thought is that the Olympics may be international relations at their worst.  In fact, this could be one of the clearest illustrations of our world’s richpoor divide.   China’s expenses alone could have fed all 1,000,000,000 hungry people on earth for an entire year.   How do you explain to a malnourished child and her mother that there is no money for food, but there are billions of dollars for sports?

Sometimes I feel stuck between two worlds.

One world calls for celebration…. the other begs for tears.  One shouts for medals, accolades, and crowns…. the other quietly asks for apologies.  One proudly proclaims, “Look what humans can do.”  The other humbly regrets what we have not done.

Do we laugh or cry?

Maybe both.

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