Like many of you I am sure, I’ve have lost some sleep these last two weeks watching the Olympics. What I thought really had no great interest for me with all the doom and gloom predictions of an Olympic disaster from Zika virus, polluted water, terrorist threat, IOC corruption, performance enhancing drug scandals, and insufficient infrastructure, has become a compelling and even moving event. The stories of athletes at the Olympics are often more inspiring than the competition itself. So many overcame so much just to get there. And to see the world come together across our differences renews our hope that we have more in common in our humanity than different in our ideology or theology.
But, I will readily admit, as incredible were the feats of Michael Phelps, Simon Biles, and others, nothing was more awe inspiring that the repeated views of the 125 foot high statue “Christ the Redeemer” atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking the city of Rio. Built between 1922 and 1931, this iconic work of art has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Christianity in the world. With those outstretched arms we are reminded that he laid down his life on the cross for all the world, that “everyone who believes in him might have eternal life”, but we are also invited into the embrace of a Savior who said, “Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest”.
I feel much the same way early each Sunday morning when I walk through Calhoun square to the front of Wesley’s sanctuary, when I quietly pray my way through the pews taking in the beauty of the place. While Protestant Christianity has not been that much on religious icons, there is something spiritually powerful about religious art and architecture through which God speaks to and inspires our souls. So I am thankful for those who went before us and built a beautiful place for us to worship and those who continue to serve and give to maintain our sanctuary and the ongoing worship of God at Wesley Monumental in the heart of our city. I pray that it all honors God as much as it inspires me.