Thought for the week – from the Rev. David Jones
Team UK have got off to an amazing start in the Tokyo Olympics. So far Adam Peak, Tom Daly, Matty Lee with Tom Piddock have proudly received their gold medals with other silver and bronze on the prize list. Tom Daly and Adam Peaty expressed the hope that the medals won would give hope, joy and inspiration to their team and to their country. Congratulations are the order of the day and rightly so.
The Olympic movement is, however, more than just personal excellence and achievement. The games have survived times of political unrest and tragedy and have been the means of uniting and strengthening the ties of mutual respect among all who take part; their international recognition continues to gender mutual tolerance often overcoming political divisions. What a welcome distraction these games are from Covid 19 concerns which are causing such deep anxiety worldwide.
It was the great Methodist preacher John Wesley in an age long gone who spoke of the world as ‘his parish’. He visited Llanelli on many occasions and a plaque on the wall of the local library commemorates those visits. During his life he preached over 40,000 sermons, wrote many Biblical commentaries and was a pioneer of social change. Much of our religious heritage in Llanelli is grounded in the Methodist movement and the pioneering work of John Wesley. The Methodist churches at Hall Street and Victoria Road are testimony to those who followed in proclaiming the Gospel.
The Olympics have seen many changes since the emergence of the ‘modern’ era. The early twentieth century games were male dominated with far fewer sports and participants. Since that time much has changed as it has in the life of the church. Today far more view church services on YouTube and Facebook than enter our churches on any given Sunday. All John Wesley had was his Bible and a trusty horse and yet his vision remains as contemporary and challenging to as ever it was. The Bible tells us that God has placed before us an ‘open door’.
The world is now our parish and through the door of 21st Century communication the Gospel is being proclaimed reaching out to embrace a lost and broken world with the healing power of God’s amazing grace and love in Jesus Christ. I’m sure Wesley would have given a resounding ‘Amen’ to that!