Wasn’t that amazing? The whole experience. After all the doom and gloom beforehand, the actual event was a triumph in virtually every area. Even the venues were pretty much full in the end. Whew!
One of my favourite moments was a cartoon in one of the nationals. A man is walking through his front-door in the London suburbs. “I’ve just been into London,” he’s saying. “It’s full of happy, smiling faces. I feel like a stranger in my own town.” Love it.
And now there’s the morning.... week....month after.
Already the first survey has suggested that the ‘feel-good’ factor may not last very long. That cartoon caption may take on a quaint air of regret.
Why should that be? The venues are still wonderful – and still there. The transport system still works pretty well. G4S are donating millions to the armed forces by way of an apology. The government has pledged to keep the money going into sport. Schools are being told to have competitive sport again, for goodness sake! That’s a pretty good legacy even before Seb Coe tells his local Job Centre he no longer needs an appointment.
Well, that good feeling cost £9,000,000,000. And the lifetime achievement of countless athletes. And 24/7 television coverage. And every British musician who can attract an audience. Not counting the ‘warm-up’ of the Jubilee (remember that?) That feeling that we’ve all enjoyed and profited by has come at huge expense.
The emotions were real enough. But we can’t afford to maintain them. Not at that level. Our entertainment tanks are a bit dry. Or we’ve over-dosed. Choose your metaphor.
We still want to feel proud, affirmed, amazed. But to achieve that by repeated extravaganzas isn’t possible.
So where do we go now?
Quite a lot of Christians I know – I wish I could say ‘all’ – find their Jesus-centred life exciting. By that I mean their ordinary day-by-day, daily days. Not the red-letter, ‘block out the diary’ days we’ve just had. Because they’ve discovered that – when Jesus says that he’s come into this world to give those who want it a quality of life that is simply ‘more than’ – he means it.
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a laurel wreath that withers and fades (Read ‘medal that gets old’!). You’re after one that lasts for ever.”
That’s not me. That’s a church-leader in about 60AD. After their equivalent of our Olympic Games.
He’s saying, ‘Take what Jesus says seriously. Actually digest his words so that they’re part of you. Become a normal, day-to-day person like everyone else. But have the vital, vibrant life of Jesus running through you. That’ll make a difference. Then people will want what you’ve got.’
Want to get over these post-Olympic blues – permanently?
Whether or not you know Jesus, ask him for more.
By Nigel O’Dwyer, who lives – but no longer watches seamless TV – in Worthing