so the commonwealth games are over and all of victoria has no doubt been blogging about it. i missed the opening, saw lots of bits on tv late at night, and saw the second half of the closing ceremony.
seeing paul kelly live was wonderdul. he was one of the few "live" performers. the indian launch was stunning. i have to say that I was very impressed with much of the closing ceremony production - some very extraordinary and clever staging and imagery - a pity that it lacked a script other than tourism. 1000 dame edna's was hilarious, but the idea of sending up crass commercialism didnt work, did it. still, 1000 waving light-up gladioli....
after a weekend of indian and sri lankan worship and stories, i was more attuned to the clash of cultures, including the repeatedly dumb commentary (which at one point said that unlike england, australia, etc., india was a young country.....??? what the heck was that about???)
the launch of the 2008 games theme song was funny, poignant, moving. so un-disney. the song seemed like a eurovision song contest from another era. but at the same time a sincere attempt from a nono-western culture to embrace the world. who knows whether it was more or less sincere than the australian cultural antics.
i like the 'games' because for all of their economic and political biases, which are largely the point of them, I not only see people attempting and sometimes doing extraordinary things - but that in them i see grace and beauty, despair and failure, cooperation and compassion, longing and loss - raw and honest, regardless of all of the side issues - in ways that reveal the human person - body. mind, heart and spirit - and so give me glimpses of God.
would that the church so starkly and compellingly staged the intersecting drama of humanity and divinity for the world.
and yet this morning, when samson and gehtzi (our visiting indian ministers) told something of their stories, along with emma speaking of her recent visit to romania to train occupational therapists, such an intersection was lit more brightly that the fireworks along the yarra.
i don't have any prose tonight to say it better. what a contrast between the commonwealth games launch and the story of an indian minister, a woman from the lowest caste in india, dalit, for whom the intervention of the missionaries, for all of their failures, provided education that transformed her life, and that of many others.