All Age Worship – Olympic Special

Sunday July 15th, 2012, St B and St M

We had a lot of fun last Sunday, with quizzes and prayer activities and giveaways and lots of Olympic info … including a memory verse:

If you can’t work it out … take a look at John 8v12 🙂

Gold Medal Quiz

1. How much gold is there in a gold medal?

  • 100%
  • 10%
  • 1%

2. How much does a gold medal weigh?

  • 400g (about 14 oz)
  • 200g (about 7oz)
  • 100g (about 4oz)

3. Including the Paralympics, how many medals will be awarded at this summer’s Games?

  • 4,700
  • 470
  • 47

4. Who is the character that features on the front of all Olympic medals?

  • The founder of the Games, Pierre de Coubertin
  • The Greek goddess of victory
  • Spyridon Louis, the winner of the first Olympic marathon in 1896

5. Who has won most Olympic gold medals …

  • In an individual Games?
  • Throughout their career?
  • Which country has won most Gold medals in total at the Summer Games since 1986?

6. Which four countries have competed in every Summer Games that has taken place since 1896?

ANSWERS

1. The gold medal contains 1.34% actual gold, 92.5% silver and the rest is copper.

2. All the medals weigh between 375-400g

3. 4,700 medals have been made for the Games in London 2012

4. It is traditional for Nike, the Greek goddess of victory to appear on the front of all Olympic medals. The reverse usually features the logo of the Games for that year.

5. Michael Phelps (swimming); Michael Phelps (swimming); USA with 929, followed by the Soviet Union with 395, Germany with 247 and Great Britain are in fourth place with 207.

(Interestingly, these are also their relative positions of total medals won combining Summer and Winter Games. Norway are the top Gold medal winners in the Winter Games.)

6. Only Great Britain, Greece, France and Switzerland have competed in every Summer Games.

What do you have to do to win an Olympic medal? You have to run faster, jump higher or prove you are stronger than anyone else. It all comes down to those few short moments … less than 10 seconds for the 100m … and it all has to go right on the day.

But before someone ever arrives at the sports field or arena, so much has already gone into their preparations … hours of time and effort, money – for equipment and kit as well as to live on, the sacrifice of anything that might be a distraction, years of dedicated practice … all for one moment of glory. And the opportunity for glory quickly passes and doesn’t come again for another four years.

For the past couple of months we’ve been steadily working our way through Peter’s first letter in our readings and sermons. And glory is something of a theme for Peter in both of his letters. So for our first reading this morning, we’re going back to Chapter 1 …

1 Peter 1:3-9

An athlete has to test the limits time and time again, trying harder each time, setting new targets as he reaches each goal. It’s the same for any sportsman, or anyone with a talent or ability … whether it be music, art, plumbing, cooking … any skill really. Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes … and it’s true of our faith, too.

A top athlete is born with a gift, a talent. He didn’t do anything to deserve it, and he has the choice to develop or neglect it. But if he wants to be the best … he has to put in endless hard work and effort. It was Thomas Edison, who – among thousands of other inventions – gave us the light bulb, who said, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration’.

A Christian, in Peter’s words, has received a ‘new birth and a living hope’ … and nothing he does or fails to do can take that away from him, nor the wonderful inheritance that God has waiting for him in heaven. Yet Peter still says that faith needs testing … so that there may be praise, glory and honour … not – as you might assume – for Jesus … but for the one whose faith has been tested and proved to be genuine … for the Christian.

And that’s not all that’s on offer for the Christian who works at his faith, striving to be the best he can be for God’s sake … look at …

1 Peter 4:14 – If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

In 1 Peter 5:1 – Peter describes himself as having suffered for Christ and he knows that he will therefore share in the glory to be revealed

While in 1 Peter 5:4 – Peter says to those who have served God willingly and well, that when the Chief Shepherd (Jesus) appears, they will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away.

Now, it’s true that someone without ability can work hard, and can improve his skill, maybe even win a few minor prizes … but without that spark of talent, he’ll never be the best. There are those who try to as good a life as they can, doing more, giving more, living for others … but without the new life that God gives, they’ll never measure up to Jesus … yet, unlike talent or ability … God’s new life is available to everyone. That’s why Peter calls it a new birth.

The ability to run fast – or any other talent – is there at birth. Often a genius is identified at an early age, and certainly most top sportsmen are showing their natural talent by their early teens … they are spotted and then trained well before they leave school.

But any of us, at any age, can receive the new birth … a gift from God, available to everyone because of Jesus … listen now to our second reading

1 Peter 5:6-11

This is Peter’s letter in a nutshell … that if we come to God humbly, we can receive a new life, we can have someone to share all our troubles and difficulties with. But he warns us that anyone living out that new life will face opposition, yet we won’t be alone – all Christians face such trials. But God has called us to glory – there’s that word again – and eventually he himself will restore us and make us … strong, firm and steadfast.

The Olympic motto is faster, higher, stronger … the Christian’s motto is strong, firm and steadfast …

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