The Parish of Farnworth & Kearsley

February 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the 22nd Winter Olympics, are scheduled to take place from 6th to 23rd February in Sochi, Russia, with some events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana.  98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines will be held.  I’m not very sporty as you might have guessed, but I will enjoy watching some of these events on TV.

You may remember the 1993 film ‘Cool Runnings’.  The film is loosely based on the true story of the Jamaica national bobsled team's debut in the bobsled competition of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  It is quite a funny film which received positive reviews.  One bit near the beginning of the film sticks in my mind.  The character Sanka, reads to his friend what it takes to succeed ...

“The key elements to a successful sled team are a steady driver, and three strong runners to push off down the ice. ICE? Ice?”, he exclaims.  His friend Derice says, “Well, it's kind of a winter sport, you know, man.”  Sanka replies, “You mean winter, as in ice?  You mean winter, as in igloos and Eskimos and penguins and ICE?”  “Possibly”, Derice replies.  “See ya.”, says Sanka.  “Where you going?” says Derice.  Sanka says, “I'm going to take a hot bath, I'm getting cold just thinking about all this ice!”

Despite these initial concerns and overcoming many practicalities, the team makes it to Calgary.  The Jamaicans are looked down upon by other countries, but the team resolves to view the contest seriously.  For the first half of the final day's race it looks as though they will break the world bobsled speed record, until tragedy strikes.  Their old sled has one of the blades fall off and flips on its side, leaving them metres short of the finish line. However, the team lifts the sled over their shoulders and walks across the finish line to rousing applause from spectators.  Whilst no medals are won, the team returned to Jamaica as heroes and upon their return to the Winter Olympics four years later, they were treated as equals.

How seriously do we take our Christian faith?  The Jamaican bobsled team were determined to make a go of it no matter the difficulties and how much they were ridiculed for even trying.  In the end they were viewed as credible competitors.  How credible are we as Christians in our homes, community and work-places?  Do people see our love for God and our commitment to Jesus Christ evidenced in our everyday lives?

Recently, at an all-age service, I was talking about how God wants all of us to be a part of his "Eye Witness News Team."  A typical news broadcast may have several live, on-the-scene reports.  The eye witness tells exactly what he or she saw relating to the event.  

In the gospel stories we have given to us various eye-witness reports of the nature and work of Jesus Christ.  Most people come to the Christian faith because someone else points them in the right direction.  Perhaps it is a parent, a Sunday School teacher, a minister or a good friend. They give an eye-witness account of how knowledge and love of God and his Son Jesus has affected their lives for the better.

God wants all of us to be a part of his "Eye Witness News Team." What would you say about what your faith means to you? Perhaps you would say, "Since I’ve been a Christian, sadness has turned to joy; doubt has turned to faith; worry has turned to trust; fear has turned to confidence…"  Whatever our faith means to us, if we are to be taken seriously, we need to show it in our lives and tell others about what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  That way, others will come to know God’s love for them too.

In the film the team discuss what they will call their sled.  ‘Talulah’ is suggested and quickly rejected.  Derice says, “I say we call it, 'Cool Runnings.'”  “Beautiful, I like it, very strong” his friends reply.  “It’s nice”, says coach Irving, “but... what exactly does it mean?  Derice says “’Cool runnings’ means, "peace be the journey."

Enjoy the Winter Olympics and peace be your journey.

With love and prayers, Carol.