No doubt you've found yourself at a sports day egging on your child, or watched someone running for a train or taxi, or have jogged along a beach, and have forced your vocal cords into their best imitation of Vangelis's soundtrack for Hugh Hudson's landmark 1981 film, Chariots of Fire, now reissued and showing at a cinema near you.
And when it comes to sermon illustrations, the film is right up there with the most referenced movies besides The Matrix and Bruce Almighty. Devout Christian athlete and missionary Eric Liddell's now famous defence for pursuing sports over a China campaign will no doubt be quoted until kingdom come. Turning to his sister who thinks the delay of the mission trip dishonours the Almighty, he enthuses:
'I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.'
Whether Liddell - whose faith caused him to refuse to run on a Sunday in the 1924 Paris Olympics - uttered those immortal lines or not, the words have helped many gain a fresh perspective on what God does and does not find 'pleasing'. Preaching, prayers and pilgrimages are pleasing to God, as are pastry making, pole vaulting and particle physics - a line of thought with which our regular readers will be familiar.
There's a rich vein of truth to be tapped into here. What does God enjoy? Does God receive as much pleasure from a human celebrating athletic prowess as he does a Dad doing a slow motion 'Vangelis' run along a beach trying to amuse his family? Does God enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake as much as wrestling with sea monsters of the deep (Job 41:1)? Should it surprise us that the God of the sabbath is as much at peace resting as he is working to fulfill his mission?
God is perfectly fulfilled, completely content with who he is. In Jesus we see a man who was as at home in the small moments as well as the grand occasions: with disciples casually wandering through a field eating ears of corn, in post-conversion parties with the likes of Levi, barbecuing fish on a beach.
Thankfully we don't have to be Olympic athletes to experience God's pleasure. Christ is with us in this 'now'. Can we take time to enjoy the moment with him?
Youth Pastor, St Peter's West Harrow
Simon Burnton, '50 stunning Olympic moments: No. 8 - Eric Liddell's 400 metres win, 1924', The Guardian (4 January 2012)
More Than Gold - Church outreach initiative for the Olympics
Damaris Resources on Chariots of Fire