July is notable for two things this year. The most important is the end of the summer term and the beginning of the school holidays. Secondly, the Commonwealth Games start in Birmingham on Thursday 28th July. When I was at school the summer term seemed to go on forever, the weeks in July were the last gasp of a long school year. The prospect of six weeks of holidays with no school seemed impossibly long with lots of exciting things to be done. The weather was usually hot when we had to be stuck inside and the rain seemed to wait for sports day! Sadly, the rain also seemed to wait for the beginning of the school holidays, the best weather usually happened over the exam period.
Given that the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham start around the beginning of the school holidays, I have great concern that they may have quite a bit of rain. I went to university in Birmingham and I was struck by how much rain seemed to fall in Birmingham. One of my first purchases was a raincoat that I carried everywhere. Aside from the chance of rain, I am sure the games will create fantastic chances for sporting excellence. The Commonwealth Games are also known as The Friendly Games. Interestingly they were the first to integrate para-athletes making it a very inclusive event, this happened twenty years ago. The Commonwealth has been very much part of the Queen’s great unifying works. There is a Queen’s baton relay which started on 7th October 2021, it will take 294 days to visit 72 nations. Behind the games are the ideas of bringing people together, and helping people to achieve their full potential. There is also a legacy of inspiring people to try new things that they might not have known about.
It is very easy to become so preoccupied with the great anxieties that we face both locally and international. At the moment everything seems so bleak, rapidly rising prices creating real hardship and impossible choices. There is still no end in sight to the war in Ukraine. The Christian faith has a legacy of enduring great hardship yet still believing in God. God promises that there are new possibilities still to be discovered. There is hope in the face of despair. The most important aspect is that people work together for good, it allows the possibility of a change for good. The more dangerous path is that people act selfishly for their own good, with things inevitably only getting worse. Perhaps as we watch the Commonwealth games on television we might remember what they aspire to ‘Games for Everyone’. They remind us of our common humanity and the need for equality but they also remind us to look to our future and new possibilities it may hold.