Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Olympic Village

I love the Olympics.  Gathering as a family every four years, cheering on our nation's premier athletes.  Tearing up at emotional stories of those who have overcome the greatest of odds to be awarded for their perseverance and the deep stirring of national pride.  Chants of U-S-A! U-S-A! and puffed out chests as the Star Spangled Banner plays while yet another gold medal is slowly draped around Michael Phelp's neck.

Technically this is my five year old daughter Reagan's second go at the Summer Games.  She was just a few months past her first birthday when the world's eyes descended upon Beijing, and I don't recall her really catching the Olympic spirit back in 2008.  But this year is different for her.  At five she has played some organized sports (aimlessly chasing a soccer ball around a field while wearing a jersey counts as organized sports) and watched our family cheer on the Hokies, the Rangers and the like.  So like any good red blooded American dad I have been more than happy to encourage her to join us in watching the Games and revel in America's greatness.

The US's dominance in swimming at these Games has been clearly established, so what better event to start her off on than a swimming heat.  The Aquatics Centre of London was packed full of spectators all proudly waving their respective flags and chanting in their native tongues.  Shortly after the swimmers pushed off from their starting blocks Reagan joined right in.  With all the earnestness and sweetness of a five year old little girl she broke into cheer:


I chuckled at first and started to correct my childish little girl.  "We root for America in our house!",  I would have said.  We want to win.  We want medals....lots of medals.  Gold is better than silver and way better than bronze.  But in His wisdom God slowed my tongue and in a matter of seconds my mind was flooded with an awareness of my own childishness.  My five year old was standing next to her 3 year old sister and 2 year old brother.  Both born in China.  Both Chinese-Americans.  The Chinese people and culture have been a part of our family's life for nearly all of Reagan's.  No wonder she was rooting for China.  To her they aren't the enemy or even rivals. They are family.

So often I take for granted what exists in my home every day: The merging of cultures, skin colors, languages.  Isn't this what our Heavenly Father wants our homes, our communities and our churches to look like? Every nation, tribe and tongue praising and adoring Him in unison. 

Loving America isn't wrong.  I swell with pride watching the "Fab 5" tumble their way to gold.  I proudly watch the stars and stripes fly above the 2012 version of the "Dream Team".  I really do want America to win gold.  I love everything about this land and I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices that have been made from founding fathers to soldiers on foreign soil to pastors in Birmingham jails. 

But more than all of that I am forever indebted to the One who sacrificed all.  Who redeemed all the world, sinners past, present and yet to come.  Who has delivered Americans, Chinese, Russians and unreached people groups all around the globe.  What an amazing picture to think of believers stretched as far as the eye can see, gathered in the great arena of Heaven all cheering our Nation.  Truly a Nation indivisible, under God.  Hands of red, yellow, black and white intertwined in praise.  I am also thankful for that five year old little girl who may have a better vision of what that will look like than I do.

Praise God for my own little Olympic Village here in Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. Funny, in our house it is "Go Korea"! It still stuns me how our kids can remind us that love shouldn't know borders. What lucky families we are!