October 23, 2016
Luke 18:9-14
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Joel 2:23-32
Psalm 65

More Than One Winner
Proper 25 | OT 30 | Pentecost 23

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Frank Ramirez
"More Than One Winner" by Frank Ramirez
"North Pole Paradise?" by Frank Ramirez

More Than One Winner
by Frank Ramirez
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing -- 2 Timothy 4:8

The ancient Olympics were held every four years, as close as can be told, from 776 BC to 393 AD. That works out to one thousand, one hundred, and sixty-nine years. That’s almost five times as long as the age of the United States.

Greek city-states rose and fell, the Roman Empire conquered the Western World, and Christianity arose and finally became legal, during that time. And for over a millennium athletes gathered every four years to see who could run the fastest, jump the farthest, and out-wrassle everyone else.

Those ancient games were not for amateurs, despite the later myth-making of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Those prizes inspired athletes to train furiously for their events. There’s a little piece of papyrus that opens a window on that training. It’s only five and a half by seven inches and was found in the Egyptian desert. It’s a scrap from a second century wrestling instruction manual. There are holes here and there, but you can picture what training was like from what it says:

“Throw back your challenger and wrestle...with your right hand...toss, roll and suddenly throw into a different position and wrestle...toss...your foot...the hand, squeeze and wrestle...with your right then change positions...by the beard...and with the other alongside the middle of the head with the right, wrestle around and with your hand bend it back. Cross and wrestle. Bend him backwards with your right which you bend back and surprise him around the ribs and throw your honorable opponent. Throw off your honorable opponent, shifting his hand. Wrestle! Be quick. Use both hands. Wrestle. Throw your foot. Squeeze him. Bend him back. Bend his fingers upward and his...throw against...” (translation by the author)... >>Click here for the full installment.

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Proper 25 | OT 30 | Pent 23