So the Olympic closing ceremony gave us somehting that one of the commentators described as "like being inside a giant disco" - hardly a profound observation but a fair one. After the stunning, meaningful, spiritual, political opening ceremony, the closing event, which is, when all is said and done, really the competitors 'after party', had an impossible ask. I'm glad I watched it, though I found some of the singing pretty cringe-worthy... However, there were a few moments that moved deeper.
I wonder who, other than me who has a chiming clock, noticed that the flame died on the stroke of midnight? The reshaping of the cauldron into a 'burning bush' and the gentle extinquishing of the light was a profound and beautiful moment.
I loved the Welsh male voice choir singing the Olympic hymn, and all due respect to the LSO who played stalwartly throughout, drowned out as they were by what (to me) was often a cacophony.
The technical aspects were amazing - lighting, camera work, sound, direction, and of course still the volunteers smiled and fulfilled thier roles.
Perhaps for me the most striking element was the montage of photos to the backdrop of John Lennon's "Imagine". The deep, bitter-sweet irony of imagining a world at one at the end of an event that blatantly celebrates nationalism. The Lennon Utopian dream of a world with no religion at an event where people of so many religions had competed respectfully - and of course the Saudi women who competed at great personal cost because of their religious devotion. Imagine a world where everything in the garden is roses... a Utopian dream. Whilst that is not how I understand the Olympics, or even the Commonwealth Games, which come a tad closer imo, and whilst I my utopia would be different from Lennon's, there is something quite significant about celebrating the sporting achievement of so many of the worlds nations, of people of all races and faiths enjoying themselves together.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,
Perhaps one day you'll join us, and the world will live as one.
Is this not the hope of of the new creation, the new heaven and earth, the telos of history?