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A Sharpie is Mightier Than the Sword

They’re Baaaack (insert Olympic theme song here)! The reason I was glued to my TV Friday night was not because of the life-like projections of a ship at sea or the beauty of a 19th-century ball or even the snowflake malfunction. Those things are all attention-getting, but the true headline-grabbing story was one of unity. I mean, Russia is the place of the Iron Curtain, where Siberia is located, but I could feel the frozen tundra melting before my eyes as I saw countries sharing love with one another, shaking hands, hugging, even taking pictures with athletes from other countries to post to their Facebook/Instagram pages.

In RETHINK CHURCH we are focusing on basic needs like food and shelter, but when we think about countries’ basic needs, the world as a whole, the one glaring need seems to be unity.

The games’ location, Sochi, Russia, has stirred up many questions. We saw stories in the news asking if people should even go to the Olympic Games because of threats to safety. We need unity more than ever these days, a way to understand and respect each other. In a world where injustice, war, exploitation, arsenals of nuclear weapons, and the increase of tyranny exists, we need unity now more than ever. If we go back to the beginning of the Games, we see they were still trying to figure out what coming together really meant. During the ancient Olympic Games a truce, or ekecheiria, was observed. Three runners were sent to announce the beginning of the truce. This was a period of time where armies did not enter Olympia, wars were suspended and legal disputes were forbidden. The truce was primarily designed to allow athletes and visitors to travel safely to the games. Did you know this tradition still lives on?

Since the 2000 games in Sydney an Olympic Truce Wall has been a fixture in the Olympic village. This was adopted with the formation of the International Olympic Truce Foundation whose primary objective is to promote the Olympic ideals to serve peace, friendship and understanding of the world through sport. A few days ago, athletes and officials were invited to show their support by signing the wall in Sochi. In signing the wall, the athlete makes a commitment to foster unity during the course of the games. “The Olympic Village shows us all – if only for a few brief weeks – that another world is possible,” President Bach of the IOC said at the ceremony. “A world where we can compete, but still respect each other, where we can be sporting rivals but still be friends.”

So we aren’t Olympic athletes and we are not in Sochi right now, but what does this say about how we meet the world’s greatest basic need? Normally, we are about breaking down walls instead of building them, but when construction contains making a commitment to fellow human beings, then build, build and build some more. What would your own “Truce Wall” look like (metaphorically speaking)? What are you willing to sign your name on? Here are some questions just to get you thinking about how you participate in unity in this world.

  • Do you feel connected to others in this world?
  • How do the personal choices we each make impact unity in this world?
  • Are you tapping into acts of respect, compassion, and mercy around you?
  • How can you become a part of a unity movement in your community?

There are so many issues that divide people and threaten the growth of the world community. We must find valuable answers to these questions and promote ways to be a fellowship of persons who honestly love one another. God’s world is one world.