On February 9, 2018, the Winter Olympics will begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Athletes from all over the world will compete in 102 events in search of gold, silver, and bronze medals. Before the competition begins, however, all eyes will turn to the Opening Ceremonies where athletes will parade inside the stadium eagerly awaiting the arrival of that night’s main attraction: the Olympic Flame. For every Olympic competition since 1936, a flame has been transferred from Athens, Greece (site of the first Games) to the host location of the current Olympics through a giant “relay” race. Literally thousands of people carry a real flame thousands of miles to deliver it to the opening ceremonies. For this year’s games, the “relay of the flame” began in Greece in October, and it will finally arrive in Pyeongchang next Friday.
The symbol of the flame has divine implications. The idea is that the fire is from the “gods” (remember this has its origin in Ancient Greece.) The flame is lit by using mirrors to focus sunlight to ignite the initial torch. They then carry the “spirit of the games” across all people until it arrives in its temporary home.
I still remember in 1984, when the Olympics were in Los Angeles, that the flame traveled through my hometown and I got to see it pass by. It was quite the experience when I was there . . . but it is even more impressive to me today. When I first saw it, I knew it was important, but I could not grasp the challenge that was undertaken to deliver that flame across such an epic distance.
I was thinking about that today as I looked at Psalm 145:4. This verse (written by King David) says:
“One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
The thrust of this verse (embedded inside a Psalm of praise) calls today’s generation to “carry the flame” of divine knowledge and adoration around the world . . . AND to pass it on to the Next Generation. It is our duty . . . it is our privilege.
As member’s of Christ’s Church today, we have an incredible opportunity to pass along to today’s children, youth, and college students a relationship with God. We are called to impart truth and hold fast to sound doctrine . . . but we are also called to have a relationship with the Lord that is so attractive, that the Next Generation desires to know Him as well.
I am so honored to be a part of a church that understands this principle. Wildwood invests heavily and unapologetically in our ministries to those under the age of 21. This investment, however, requires daily and weekly deposits, and sometimes we can lose sight of why we ever signed up to serve in children’s ministry, or host a group of middle schoolers for D Now, or volunteered to welcome a college student into our home via “adopt a sooner.” Sometimes we need to pull back and look at God’s Word again to renew our vision for ministry FOR the Next Generation.
Join us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services as we conclude our “FOR” series by talking about what it means for us to be FOR the Next Generation. See you Super Bowl Sunday morning!