God's Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Bird's Nest florid at night

As we begin the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics, John Piper, in a sermon he preached 24 years ago, reminds us of how little man can do in comparison to God's opening ceremonies each morning and his closing ceremonies in the end.

During the Summer Olympics one of the camera maneuvers taught me something about the greatness of God. The opening and closing ceremonies were thrilling to most of the people who saw them. The sheer magnitude of the crowds and fireworks and music were a once-in-a-lifetime experience of bigness and grandeur.

Those of us who watched it on television could feel some of the thrill when the camera was high enough to take in the whole great sweep of the coliseum. But then something strange happened. The camera continued to recede into the sky where it was perched in the helicopter, and the coliseum became smaller and smaller until it was just a blurry dot on the ground.

As I watched that happen I was filled with joy in the greatness of God. I said to myself, "Look how thrilled we are with a coliseum full of color and sound. Look how we stand in wonder. Look how we shout and clap and feel excitement at the splendor of it all. But look again from God's perspective. Compared to his power and splendor, it's a blurry dot on the ground."

God puts on a minor display of his strength and splendor every morning as he brings the sun up over the horizon—865,000 miles thick, 1.3 million times heavier than the earth, blazing on its cool edges at one million degrees Centigrade! Every morning has its opening ceremonies to thrill us with the power and the glory of God and fill us with hope that one day we will enter a land where all the wonders that have inspired us on this little earth will be like blurry dots in comparison with the magnificence of God's eternal closing ceremonies.