Watching the America’s Cup victory parade last week brought to mind the Christian victory parade mentioned by Paul in 2 Cor 2:14: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.”
In those days a victorious Roman general, after conquering in battle, would ride through the streets of Rome in his chariot, brandishing trophies of victory, followed by his troops and their prisoners, with fragrant clouds of incense (today’s confetti, ticker tape and fireworks).
Paul uses that colourful image to show that Christians are travelling in the triumphal procession of our Lord, and it is our job to spread the glory of His greatness to the world around us.
What a lot of useful lessons we can learn from Team New Zealand’s exploits! They were models of discipline, dedication, perseverance and diligence. The way they mastered the contest despite their limited resources compared to the unlimited purse of their rivals shows that money isn’t the answer to everything. And their remarkable comeback after a total capsize of their only boat was a classic lesson in how to handle adversity.
Christians are called to “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor 9:24), living a disciplined life, as athletes (or match-racing sailors) do.
Perhaps the greatest lesson for us to gain from the aptly named Team New Zealand is the reminder that it is essential for us to act with spiritual teamwork, as Paul pictured in his marvelous passage (1 Cor 12) describing the way the church needs to work together, each of us pulling our weight, just as all the parts of the human body work in harmony.