Christian Comment with Graham Collins of Holy Trinity, Stroud

HOW do you feel about the nation since the end of the Olympics and Paralympics? Whatever you think it certainly did seem to produce a positive period for the country. 

I am told people even conversed on the London Underground rather than avoid each other. Perhaps it tapped into our most basic need to engage with others.

Whatever it did, there was certainly a feel-good factor.

People are asking what the legacy will be and that is both individual and social.

Individually, I believe the aim is for us to be involved with sport in some way and to improve our fitness and health as a result.

Socially it is about joining with others and sharing in something important that also makes us feel good.

It should impact our attitudes as well as our actions. Health and fitness though is more than exercise, and social engagement more than shared interests.

It is about finding something that develops us fully as human beings and for that we need involvement in something bigger than ourselves. I am sometimes asked why people still go to church when the majority do not.

The answer is for those who attend, it is a community which follows the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, a superstar long before the Olympics. It provides a place where people learn to share and particularly to give to others in a loving way.

Jesus taught us to look beyond ourselves and in so doing, to learn more about the person we were made to be. This is then lived outside of Church.

That is the great thing about being a follower of Christ; you grow through his love to such an extent that you can’t help but give to others and that helps them feel better as a result.

As an example, a Christian organisation of which I am part called PSALMS (Painswick and Stroud Area Local Ministries) recently ran a series of Olympic Days in 11 primary schools in the Stroud area. The feedback from teachers, pupils, volunteers and parents was so positive about the way it had impacted the schools and all involved.

Just like the Olympics themselves, sport had given people a great time but it was the values that underpinned the events which will provide the most important legacy.

Consideration for others is a change we can all make; it is what Jesus taught and in the long run will provide change for the better, not just in local schools but across the country.