What are the Youth Olympics, and what are their significance?
-by Clark McClain
Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
While the summer may be all but over, and school has begun, we are blessed with the opportunity to watch the Olympics, which are happening in Rio. When I reflect on the significance of the Olympics it strikes me as so much more than just an enormous conglomerate of sporting events, taking place in the span of two weeks, participating 11,178 athletes from 206 different nations, and allowing for ‘bragging rights’ among nations for the next four years as to who has more gold medals. The Olympics, while being a space for countries to compete against each other, it’s also a time that reminds us of our humanity, our community, and just how similar we can be as a human race.
I’m reminded about a commercial that was aired during the opening ceremony, when the headline was ‘we are more alike than we are different’. The Olympics showcase the very best of humanity’s athletic abilities from 206 different nations, but highlights a joining of people from around the globe who all share something in common, athletics. It’s a time to reflect on the global connectedness of our world, that people all around the world, for two weeks, will share in the common anxiety of breathlessly watching their TV’s and awaiting to see if their nation can capture gold.
Also as the summer closes out it means that it is almost time for our annual Youth Olympics! This will be taking place on Wesley Church’s property on the 28th of August from 3-5, and will welcome youth from Wesley Church, First UMC of Melbourne, St Marks UMC, and St. Paul UMC. Youth from these four different church’s will come to compete in different games. Like the Olympics this is a time for each youth group to showcase their ability, but mainly to have fun and join in community with other like-minded Christians.
The Youth Olympics are so much more than just 4 different youth groups joining together to compete in water sports and have fun; the Youth Olympics are also about showing the youth that there are others who believe in Christ just as they do. It is not an event to remind us that we are four different UMC’s in Melbourne, rather, that we are all part of the same body of Christ! I hope you will consider bringing your youth to the Youth Olympics, or coming yourself to witness this amazing time of fun, games, and fellowship! All are welcome!
If you would like more information about the games and how you can help out, email me!