“Gathering the Nations” Pastor Stephen Sanders 07-18-21 Part I of the Olympics sermon series


The Olympics start next week. Athletes from around the world will gather in Tokyo over the next month for the Olympics and Paralympics.

We thought it could be fun (and meaningful) to follow the Olympics and reflect upon what they teach us about life and the Christian faith. What do they show us about living fully, teamwork, and supporting one another on our journey of faith?

This week I’m going to reflect on the gathering itself. Over 11,000 athletes from an expected 206 nations will compete in Tokyo. They will speak dozens of languages and represent every shade of skin color known to humankind.

Theologically, the Olympics offer a picture of heaven in miniature. In the last book of our Bible, Revelation, the author describes heaven as “a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages (Revelation 7: 9).” This vast multitude is not there to compete. They form a heavenly choir. Isn’t that an interesting way to think of heaven? The most diverse group you could possibly imagine lifting their voices in praise to God.

This vision of heaven is what Jesus asked us to pray the world will be when he taught us the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus calls his followers to live as people who pray and work with him and one another to bring forth a day where people of every nation, skin color, and language live together in peace.

The gathering of Olympic and Paralympic athletes offers a peak into the world as God intends it to be.  As you watch the Olympics, look for it. As you go through your week, work for it and pay attention for where you see people from God’s diverse creation living in harmony – living as God intends.

Pastor Stephen