“Intersections: The Olympics” – August 1, 2021

Rev. John Shaver

Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 9:30am
Sanctuary & Livestream Worship

My Post (65)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,  and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1

As we continue our series this week, Intersections: God's Stories – Our Stories – Summer 2021, we'll travel to Tokyo. I'm sure many of you, like myself, have been keeping up with the excitement of the Olympics even as we move through this challenging time in world history. I did have a little epiphany yesterday amid some frustrating moments of the day (yes, even pastors have those feelings of frustration at times). I thought if the athletes I'm cheering on can still express joy and compete with masks on, no fans, and families a few thousand miles away, so can I.

If you need a little encouragement today, I came across a story about a 2021 United Methodist Olympian. Kevin McDowell (pictured above) was raised in Geneva, Ill., and started attending Flowing Forth U.M.C. when he was in high school.

Rev. Jeffry Bross, his pastor, shared, "He came on his own to church as a high school kid and at the time was the number one rated triathlete in the world. He was faithful and went around telling his story about faith and God's work in his life. His family followed him and started coming to Flowing Forth, so he evangelized."

A cancer diagnosis ten years ago nearly sidelined the triathlete, who has won numerous medals and was named the U.S.A. Triathlon Junior Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Despite the difficult chemotherapy treatments taking a toll on his body, McDowell fought back and continued to train with support from his family, church community, and various charities. He also continued to train during and after his successful medical treatment. Kevin’s Olympic dream that he had since age eleven finally came true when he was selected by the U.S.A. Triathlon Association to compete in this summer's games. "Tears came down instantly. I was shaking, and it was a wave of emotion," McDowell said about the call to be on the team. Rev. Bross said McDowell will be one to watch as he's in medal contention. "He's a cancer survivor, but more than that, he has a deep faith.”

Of course, we all don’t have a story like Kevin, but the Bible is filled with athletic metaphors, and they continually remind each of us to strive to give our best for God and encourage each other. As Kevin would share, he didn't do this all on his own but with the help of God, his family, church community, and support from around the world.

I hope you'll join me as we share in worship and meditate on the ways our lives intersect with God and the world around us. Yes, even if we're masked, we'll still come together and share in a vibrant time of worship. We'll also be coming together around The Table to share in the healing gift of Communion this Sunday.

I look forward to seeing you in person or online at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. (Livestreaming will continue at 9:30 a.m. and on YouTube throughout the day).

Grace, Peace, and Blessings, John

PS Don't forget that this Sunday is Share The Table Sunday. Along with any food items, you may want to bring some school supplies to aid children around the Greater San Diego area as they go back to school. 

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