Thought for the Day - Rev Joel Edwards - 25/07/2012
The London Olympics has given us new vocabulary: ORNs and PRNs. Or as we have been hearing, the Olympic Road Network and Paralympic Road Network.
And as from today London commuters traveling along the Olympic network will have to beware of the 30 miles of Olympic Lanes criss-crossing the Capital to speed athletes and officials to the Games venues.
So far responses to these lanes have been very mixed.
No one would be happy waiting a couple of hours for the men’s 100 meters final to start because athletes were stuck in traffic. But there have been a lot of voices who are worried about the traffic jams, the overcrowded trains, and the possibility of a fine if you happen to stray into the Lanes during the prohibition hours.
The whole debate has dragged us into old conversations about privilege and positions.
Of course, no one wants athletes arriving late for the Games. But I can hear some asking, why can’t these special heroes catch an earlier coach like the rest of us? The British propensity for non-deference militates against special treatment to anyone – unless of course you’re the official underdog.
“The last shall be the first “ is a biblical theme which could just as easily have been written by a British attitudes and motivation committee.
We really can’t cope when it turns out that ‘the first shall be the first!’
I suppose a healthy society wrestles with the tensions between hero-worship and indifference. We take them seriously enough to pay small fortunes to see our heroes perform. And we take ourselves serious enough to make sure they remain accountable.
It’s like the biblical idea of the priesthood of all believers adapted for our social idiom. We’re always OK with a few high priests as long as all of us are allowed to be priests.
Honouring authority, respecting and praying for powerful leaders with the power of life and death was integral to a biblical response to the privileged.
But so also was self-effacing humility. If you’re attending a special event, said the apostle James, don’t stroll up to the top table. Wait until you’re invited.
I live within a stone’s throw from the Olympic site so I’ll have to spend some effort in avoiding a fine. But even so I hope I can watch Usain Bolt being driven past me in the Olympic Lane and still cheer him on when he reaches the track.
Available since: Wed 25 Jul 2012
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