St Helens Methodist Church, Hastings
Ministers Letter – August 2021
Even if you are not a follower of sporting events you cannot have failed to notice that there have been a lot of sporting events taking place this summer. The annual tennis competitions at Eastbourne and Wimbledon have been able to go ahead with spectators to cheer on the players. And we have all been caught up in the excitement of the England football team reaching the Euro 2020 finals. We now have some exciting cricket to follow and the Olympic Games are taking place in Tokyo, although covid-19 restrictions mean that things have to be done differently and there are no spectators to cheer on their teams.
The Olympic rings are a recognisable symbol of the modern Olympic movement and were designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, in 1913. The five rings represent the five major regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Every national flag in the world includes at least one of the five colours, which are (from left to right) blue, yellow, black, green and red.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin saw the importance of the Olympics as an event that drew together people from all over the world. Many of the people who would take part spoke different languages, looked different, had different religions, but for a short time differences were put to one side as athletes from every nation competed side by side. Baron de Coubertin wanted the rings to be interlinked with one another, not to be separate rings positioned side by side. He felt that sport linked nations together.
The Olympic rings give us a great example of what the world should be like: all the nations of the world linked together, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, follow a particular religion and so on. We have also seen how the Olympic ideal has been extended to include athletes with disabilities through the development of the Paralympics.
Christians believe that God loves all people equally, as suggested by the Olympic rings. If you look at the Olympic rings there is no distinction made between countries, but each country is incorporated in some way with the colours of every national flag in the world included in the five rings. Although people are unable to gather physically to watch the Olympic games it is still an event that can be shared by people of all nations as we watch the games on television.
Whenever you see the Olympic rings may they remind you of God’s love for all people everywhere and our calling to be an inclusive community where all are welcome.