After Easter, I went with my family to the cinema to see ĎEddie the Eagleí which, I believe, has become one of the most popular films at the moment. If you havenít had the chance to see it yet, I recommend it. Eddie, as Iím sure many of you remember, is the British man who competed in the 90 metre Ski Jump at the Calgary Olympics in 1988; the first British man to have done so for decades. He came last and endured a certain amount of ridicule, but was admired by many because he had the courage of his convictions, despite opposition.
There is a lot of artistic licence in the film but, basically, Eddie was determined from a very early age to go to the Winter Olympics. He was a good skier who didnít quite make it into the Olympic Downhill Team. But, undeterred, he decided to train for the Ski Jump. On his mission to achieve this, the Olympic authorities told Eddie to give up, saying he didnít amount to much; other contenders mocked him and scoffed at him and his parents had told him to let the whole thing go and follow in his fatherís footsteps to become a plasterer. But eventually, a former Ski Jump champion called Bronson Peary, (a fictitious character), recognised Eddieís grit and determination, believed in him and trained him, albeit fairly unconventionally, so that Eddie gained a place in the British Olympic Team and took part in the 90 metre Ski Jump.
I felt that the film had some Christian parallels:
As Christians, we have just celebrated Easter; we have journeyed through the story of Christís death and resurrection. Christ in his ministry was mocked and scoffed at, but he resolutely stuck to his mission to show Godís love on earth which resulted in him being hung on a cross to die. He had to carry out His Fatherís mission on earth and endure a painful crucifixion before he rose again, triumphant, three days later.
I used the story of Eddie the Eagle in a sermon I recently preached and said that if each of us who proclaim to be Christians were to exhibit as much grit and determination in spreading the Good News of the Gospel and sharing Godís love with each other, however hard that may be at times, as Eddie the Eagle did in tackling the 90 metre Ski Jump, then we wouldnít go far wrong.
But I also like the fact that Eddie, despite being someone who others perceived as a bit of a Ďno- hoperí, came up trumps and won the day. To me, there was something of the hope of the Christian story in that, because I believe that God values and roots for each one of us and can use us all however weak or worthless we might feel, however others may perceive us, and whatever we have done wrong in our lives. He doesnít select people because of their backgrounds or abilities, but just asks for our willingness to roll up our sleeves, to be counted and to be prepared to follow where he leads, safe in the knowledge that he will support us and be with us all the way.
So if you do go to see the film, I invite you, as you watch it, to remember that God is rooting for you, just as Peary was rooting for Eddie, and can use you, whoever you are and wherever you have come from, to achieve great things for his kingdom; if we really apply ourselves to spreading the good news and love of the Gospel, then who knows where it might lead.