Heathdale flower 03rd February 2022

A Torchbearer

What a privilege that we are all called to be Torchbearers for Jesus.

Heathdale flower

Over the past few weeks there have slowly been more and more ad promoting the Winter Olympics that are about to commence in Beijing.

The other night there was an extended news article demonstrated the extraordinary lengths the Chinese officials were taking to try and keep the Winter Olympics COVID free! As I watched this news item, I found my mind drifting back to August 2000!

At this time my family just happened to be at the intersection of Middleborough and Canterbury Roads, Box Hill, when the Olympic torch relay passed by. We hadn’t planned to watch the relay but when we understood what was unfolding before us we quickly parked in a side street and joined hundreds of others to cheer those who had been honoured to carry the torch.

It was a special moment; seeing the torch heightened the anticipation of the Olympics that were due to be held in Sydney later that year. The impact on the crowd of the torch relay was incredible. Moments before, we were all cramming close to the road to get the best vantage point, and as the torch and runners came closer the crowd transformed from a collection of individuals to a united group of enthusiastic cheering supporters.

Walking back to our cars later, we chatted with other spectators as if they were life-long friends recognising we had been part of something special. We had just seen the Olympic torch but all of us sensed that we had witnessed something bigger than just a torch relay.

Each of us knew the tradition of the torch being lit in Olympia Greece, the site of the ancient Olympics is a relatively new one – it’s only been happening since 1936. But seeing it on this day made us realise there’s something more. We also knew that the torch is lit via a parabolic mirror that concentrates the sun’s rays to a specific spot, much like the way a magnifying glass ignites kindling; the torch is lit and the journey from Olympia to the site of the Olympics begins. But seeing the torch on this day made us realise there’s something more.

As I drove home, the significance of the torch finally occurred to me; it is a powerful symbol of the Olympic movement. As it travels around the world, it carries a message of hope; that the games can bring unity and acceptance for all. Therefore, to be a torch bearer is a position of honour, it’s a privilege for just a few. Each of these people was chosen because they had embodied the Olympic ideal. They were people who brought the message of hope, unity and acceptance to their communities. It would have been so special to have been chosen to carry the torch.

How different it is with God. He doesn’t choose a select few to be His torch bearers. Rather He calls each and every one of us to be His people and as a follower of Jesus to be His torch or light bearer. You and I have the privilege and honour of being known as God’s torch bearers and we can live as the writer of the New Testament Book in the Bible, Ephesians stated:

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." Ephesians 5:1 – 2 (The Message)

We can carry His message of love, forgiveness, acceptance to a world that so desperately needs to see and hear this message. This privilege is ours, not because we have done something special or we possess a special ability, it comes about simply because we are followers of Jesus.

As God’s torch or light bearer, we are His representatives to this world. Though we may not literally carry a torch, He calls us to live in a manner that our words and our actions bring others an awareness of God’s presence, His relevance and that He’s very much on the throne.

We can be God’s torch or light bearer in our responses to one another, by the way we choose to think and what we dwell on.

My prayer for all of us is that we will enter into this relationship with Jesus and collectively be known as His community and that we will continue to lift and encourage one another and treat each other with dignity and respect; in doing so we will be His torch or light bearer.