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An Olympic Vision - Training for the Prize...

Archbishop skydiving

Sunday 29th July 2012

The Archbishop of York's column in The Sun today talks about training for the Olympics, the importance of rehabilitation and paying farmers fairly. His column in full follows...

Training for the Prize

Well, the Olympics have started and it’s a time of great excitement, anticipation and pride in the achievements of all those taking part.

I think we can also be proud of what has been built and organised.  And whether we’re in the stadium, or watching on TV, I’m sure we’ll be filled with the excitement of the event and cheering on our favourites.

Many athletes have spoken about the physical demands that training makes on them.  They tell of the way their bodies have developed and changed to make them more fit and able to excel in their sport.  Cyclists build up strength in their leg muscles; rowers in their shoulders and arms; some sports require short bursts of energy; others endurance and stamina. All require strict discipline and training. And all serious athletes are willing to follow the rules, because they have their eyes fixed on the ultimate prize: to stand on the podium, having won gold!

Followers of Jesus Christ are also under discipline (their name - ‘disciples’ comes from the same word).  Always ready to take on the challenges of training, as well as the joys of following Jesus Christ. Because, we too, have our eyes set on the prize: the ever-lasting crown of glory: life with God our Father. That is why we can pray, with great conviction, the prayer for today,

...Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments; that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul….

May we all be ready to take on the challenges and disciplines of life which will bring us safely across the winning line.

York House

Last Monday I visited an inspiring project in York. York House is an independent specialist hospital, helping with the rehabilitation of people with brain injury. I was there to bless and name a new ward (‘The Wolds’) catering for the needs of longer term patients.

As we admire the dedication and strength shown by our Olympic athletes, we need also to remember and celebrate the endurance, commitment and patience of the people who care for those suffering from disability – in this case from all the physical and emotional problems of brain injury. The work of this Centre has always been to treat patients with mental illness with sympathy, respect and dignity, and hope of recovery.

God longs for us all to know healing and wholeness, so it was fantastic to see this being worked out in practice at York House.

Paying Farmers Fairly

The economic climate has made it very difficult for many British farmers, with dairy producers in particular bearing the brunt of poor prices. I regularly meet local producers across Yorkshire and I know they are going through really tough times.

Everyone is feeling the pinch in their pocket during this long recession, but really how can we expect to pay less for our milk than say a bottle of mineral water or cola?

How can we expect farmers to go on producing the best produce in the world – tasty and nutritional home grown produce – when we are paying them below the going rate for their labours?

I would love to see a Fairtrade mark for British goods. Cheap foreign imports are flooding the market and British farmers are not getting a fair deal. We should demand fairness not just for workers overseas, but also at home too.

Let’s Buy British and Buy Local.

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