Olympic and Paralympic reflections

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Updated 28 June 2012

Through its sponsorship of More Than Gold (see below), the Methodist Church in Britain has been active in building outreach and service opportunities around the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Methodist hymn writer, Andrew Pratt, wrote his hymn, “The witnesses are watching” at the time of the 2004 Games in Athens. With words inspired by the meditation on lives of faith in Hebrews 11, Andrew’s hymn is offered again here for use in worship that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic events and ideals. In 2012, Andrew has written another Olympic-themed hymn, “Lift high the banner of these games”, which looks beyond the arenas of competition to the values that underpin the modern Olympic ideals and to the challenges of countries and communties living side by side in peace and with justice.

Also see (and listen to) Paul Thompson’s song for children, “Got a race to run”, with its “upbeat rockabilly boogie” tune!

Other hymns in Singing the Faith

You may wish to use these other hymns as part of your Olympic reflections. (If you click on the links, you will find that the hymn details are all accompanied by the kind of notes that we hope to add to every hymn on this website.)

© 2012 Photos.com, a division of Getty Images

“May the mind of Christ my Saviour” (StF 504), with its last verse also derived from words in Hebrews – “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

“The head that once was crowned with thorns” (StF 312) also sings of the pursuit of glory through endeavour and suffering. The image of Jesus’ “crown of thorns” offers a striking contrast to the Olympian laurel wreath.


“Jesus, all for Jesus” (StF 555) by Irish songwriter Robin Mark, in collaboration with Jennifer Atkinson. Their words pick up on the theme of ambition and hope, which underpins the competitive spirit of the Olympics. Very simply, the song says that, by surrendering our “ambitions, hopes and plans” into Jesus’ hands, we will experience the freedom that derives from God’s love and grace.


“Take my life and let it be” (StF 566). Here is a text that embraces our physicality and the very great potential of our bodies. In verse 2, for example, we pray:

“Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love;
take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.”

What other hymns are appropriate to Olympian reflection? If you have suggestions, do get in touch by emailing us at stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk.   

More Than Gold

The Methodist Church’s own web page relating to the 2012 games, takes the name More Than Gold.

The Methodist Church is a sponsor of More Than Gold, which was set up as a one-stop-shop to help churches make the most of the Olympic and Paralympic Games through programmes of outreach, hospitality and service.

More Than Gold has united the Christian community for the world’s major sporting events since the 1996 Atlanta Games. It has the support of all the main denominations and over 60 Christian organisations and agencies.

On the More Than Gold website itself, you can find further resources, including a Bible study called “The 2012 Games and the Bible” by the Revd Dr Janet Corlett from Bermondsey Central Hall and the South London Mission.

Jane takes as her starting point Acts 2:42, noting that the apostle Paul and the other New Testament letter writers see quite clear parallels between Christian discipleship and athletes training for and competing in sporting events.

Categories: Events, Worship Resources.

2 Responses to Olympic and Paralympic reflections

  1. Jean Quick says:

    ‘Fight the good Fight’ STF 634 particularly from verse 2 ‘run the straight race’ seems appropriate for the Olympic theme.

    • Paul McDowell says:

      Yes indeed, and not just verse 2! Verse 1 for boxing (also judo, wrestling etc) and verse 3 for the Paralympics (the guide runners for blind athletes).

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