Monday, 21 November 2011

The Gospel of Senna

Ayrton Senna, triple Formula 1 world champion. Thought to be, by many, the best racing driver of all time. It has always been a tough task to compare drivers across generations, but he is definitely up there as a great. Quite a few disagreed with his approach to racing and even as a fan I have some reservations about some of his actions (hey, no one’s perfect).  What a character, what an immense skill, and complete single-mindedness. The 2011 documentary, Senna, is a must see, even if you’re not a racing fan.


Senna often spoke of God and his relationship with Him. His native country saw him often as the “best thing about Brazil”, this quote being repeated in the movie a few times by people who were making out Brazil to be a horrible place. In the 1980s it seems it was. His legacy, the Ayrton Senna Foundation, established by his sister Viviane, helps the poor, uneducated children of Brazil, an issue which was close to Senna’s heart. He was, and still is, a type of saviour.

I saw the film in the cinema and have bought the DVD. I subscribed to the fan page on facebook and received daily updates on the progress of the film as it was released across the globe. The story of Senna was going global. His way, his story, his passion, his success, his death. The good news of Ayrton was spreading, 17 years after his death, to new converts, and was a glorious reminder to those who saw him race.

Senna wasn’t the saviour, he did not come back from the grave, but he gathered many followers. People can debate the nature of his spirituality and come to all types of conclusions.

The thing is, this recent spate of activity, in film, print and social media, and maybe particularly the social media websites, made me think about Jesus Christ. People were sending in photos of themselves with Senna, at a race, many years ago, stating the day and event.
“This was at Interlagos in 1988, just before qualifying.”
“I was beneath the podium after that massive victory at _____ “

What testimonies did you hear this week about Jesus and what he is doing? Can you recall when last you were ‘there’ when something big went down, and the Spirit was the cause? What acclaim can you give Jesus for something he has done in your life, in the last day, in the last week, month or year? Or has it been that long since you could jump, shout and whoop about something he has done?

Senna didn’t die for me, even though I saw it happen live on television. He thrilled me when he did the most amazing things with a race car, but could speak to my heart’s deepest needs, to truly move my soul.  Senna is still dead, but Jesus Christ is alive today. Senna recognized his own mortality, and his God’s immortality. Let us live out Christ’s immortality in our own bodies, even though we will, too, some day, die. 

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