Eric Liddell’s abiding witness
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with Running the Race author John Keddie in Team GB Athletes’ lodge, at the Beijing Olympic Games. John Keddie was there to launch the Chinese translation of Running the Race.
Gordon Brown said he had ‘read the book with appreciation and long admired the life and character of Eric Liddell’. Copies of Liddell’s biography were made available to athletes at the suggestion of Simon Clegg, Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association.
During the visit, Rev. Keddie spoke at two services at the Beijing International Christian Fellowship. Each service was attended by at least 500 worshippers. The 9.30am service was conducted in English and Mandarin; the 11.30am one in English only. John spoke for 8-10 minutes on each occasion, giving a brief outline of Running the Race (English and Simplified Chinese versions).
His message centred on the impact of Eric Liddell. He contrasted the attitude of Eric Liddell to sport and fame with the present-day infatuation with sport and celebrity.
He explained the book’s title Running the Race, from Hebrews 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 9, and encouraged hearers to seek the greater, heavenly prize that these texts speak of, rather than earthly ones – that is, to run the race of faith, looking to Jesus.
John thanked the congregation for the opportunity to share with them and prayed that God’s blessing would be on them in these days. Among those who spoke to him afterwards with appreciation was the 1968 Olympic champion (800 metres) Madeline Manning Mims.
Towards the close of their visit, John Keddie and EP designer Pete Cooper visited the Forbidden City. This ancient city lies in the centre of Beijing. Rectangular in shape, it is the world’s largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares.
John Keddie said: ‘We moved from the tea house out of the east gate in the north of the park and came face to face with the southern gate – the Meridian Gate – of the Forbidden City.