As we come to the end of the Sochi Winter Games, an article in the Washington Post asks whether any other host city will ever be able to match the size, cost, and 51 billion dollar showcase created by Vladimir Putin.
At the same time we are hearing stories of some athletes who expect this to be the last time they compete for their flag in Olympic competition. For others the end is the beginning of the next four year cycle of training, focus, and shared dreams.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to bring fullness of meaning to the Law of Moses, he took study of the law, rabbinic education, and personal goals to the ultimate level of performance and perfection.
As a generation of spiritual coaches and mentors debated the meaning of individual laws and texts of sacred words, Jesus brought spiritual performance to a level that no one had ever seen before. Even in our own day many still tend to think of the Law of God as a series of individual rules and commandments. But Jesus personified something far greater.
Under Jewish oversight, the Law/Torah of God was far more than a collection of moral imperatives. The first five books of Moses were first of all a Story that reveals the personality and wisdom of our God, the moral mess into which we his dearly loved children and creation have fallen into, and yes—in the process— a group of moral commandments meant to lift our eyes to the snow covered heights of something and Someone better.
A lesser and far more defective view of the law and book of God distracts us into arguments about words, texts, and ideas that turn our eyes and hearts from the real story of what is happening to us, our neighbors, and our perceived enemies.
When Jesus walked into Zion, the mountain of God, to reveal a kind of religion and spirituality that had been lost… and to allow his whipped and bruised body to be lifted on an executions cross above the gawking, sobbing crowds of Calvary, he revealed a personal best that was—in inexpressibly immeasurable ways given to reveal the goodness and glory of God—for our rescue.
The sacrifice and significance of that moment brought into focus the highest end, and beginning of what it means to see the best, the most memorable, and the most important performance we will ever see, consider, or enter into together.