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God's Opening Ceremony

Every four years the Winter Olympics shows up on our TVs.

And for a couple of weeks Australians get interested in activities very distant from our daily lives. We learn to say ‘luge.’ We have opinions on ski-jump landings. Images of snowboarders, speed-skaters and skiers fill our screens.

For all the spectacular competition, I found the most striking image from these Winter Olympics was seeing the South Korean and North Korean athletes walking in the opening ceremony as a unified team. Sport has an interesting way of bringing people together.

But does it really?

Have these two countries really ended their conflict? Unfortunately the reality behind the scenes is still very icy. Indeed, most commentators will tell you that when such a ‘show’ of unity is happening between these two nations, things might be more fragile than ever. Feet were marching together. But hearts weren’t beating together.

Turning to the Bible, we find an image of unity that truly warms the heart.

God’s Word promises an experience of international peace that’s not just a show. It points to a glorious Opening Ceremony in which hearts from all nations truly beat together – voices singing one anthem together.

We saw a hint of this at Creek Road on Sunday, with John the Baptist’s words in Luke’s Gospel:

And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. – Luke 3:8

John is echoing God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 that blessing would one day flow to all nations on earth. John’s audience was making their physical descent from Abraham a point of division – assuming they were in God’s team and all others were out. If John hints that they’ve got things wrong, Jesus himself will say something even more astounding when we reach Luke 7, as he observes the faith or a Roman centurion:

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel. – Luke 7:9

Without Jesus we’re all on the wrong team.

Faith in Jesus is the key to being on God’s team. Faith in Jesus brought Romans and Jews together. Faith in Jesus can bring North Koreans and South Koreans together.

One day God himself will open this ceremony – a ceremony without end – where voices from every nation will join in one unified song from the heart:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” – Revelation 4:12

I can’t wait to sing in that ceremony, with brothers and sisters from all over the world, truly united in Jesus. By faith in Jesus you can be there too.

Steve Cree
Senior Pastor

* Title graphic credit: Singulyarra /

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