Thursday, March 17, 2011

Watching the Game

Thursday, March 17, 2011 ---- Week of 1 Lent, Year One
Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461
To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 952)
Psalms 50  (morning)        [59, 60] or 19, 46 (evening)
Deuteronomy 9:23 - 10:5
Hebrews 4:1-10
John 3:16-21

The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of entering the rest that God has promised and offered.  This rest includes the weekly rest promised by the gift of the Sabbath.  One day each week, God desires that we rest from our labors and enjoy the divine company.  This rest includes the gift of eternal life, the rest that is our eternal destination.

There is a rest that is life "in Christ," as Paul likes to say.  In Hebrews, it is the rest of confidence that comes to us when we live within the divine life given to us through Christ. 

The writer speaks of something incomplete that has now become complete through Christ.  Christ has accomplished all things.  His victory is total.  Now he is enthroned as our Great High Priest, and we can rest.  We are secure in Christ.  We don't have to do anything, except to accept the gift of unqualified love and acceptance which is ours through Christ.  He has been faithful, so we are regarded as faithful.  He has been obedient, so we enter his obedience.  He is exalted, so we are raised up.  We can rest.

Last night after Wednesday Church, we played the video of last weekend's state championship game of the Fayetteville Lady Bulldog's dramatic victory.  It was a hard fought game between two excellent teams.  It went into double overtime, and we won on a last second three-point shot from our star player.  The stuff of movies.  Only last weekend, it happened to our girls' team.  Assistant coach Heather Hunsucker and player Emma Clay are regular members of our Wednesday Church congregation.  We watched the game with them.

There is an entirely different emotional content to watching the video of a game already won as compared with watching when you don't know what the outcome will be.  The video was from a friend who shot it from her seat with her hand-held camera.  Every once in a while we would hear her exclaim about something good that excited her or something bad that distressed her.  We could laugh as she moaned over a misfortune. 

When one of our players made a mistake, we let it go instantly -- it didn't hurt.  We laughed.  We enjoyed every part of the game thoroughly -- praising the great shots and good moves.  Blessing the generous passes and brave steals.  Feeling empathy for a bad foul.  We added no drama, except the enjoyment of the game. 

When it came down to that last timeout before "The Play," we got extra excited and extra attentive.  Five seconds left.  One point behind.  We watched transfixed as the pass went to the top of the key where our player squared up; the defense crashed to her.  We knew to watch for Calli Berna as she moved to the open space to the left, behind the 3-point line.  The pass.  The shot.  The celebration.  "That's my favorite part," said Coach Hunsucker.  "The celebration.  Look at that!"

The author of Hebrews invites us to live life as if we were watching a game we have already won.  Christ's victory is complete -- cosmic, total, universal.  We know what the outcome is and will be.  We can rest.  We can celebrate. 

When we make a mistake, we can let go of it instantly.  Maybe even laugh.  It won't change the ultimate outcome.  We can praise the great events and beautiful moments.  We can bless the generous acts and honor bravery.  We can empathize with those who foul up.  We don't have to add unnecessary drama.  We can simply enjoy life.  Within that is a deep sense of comfort and rest.

The victory is already assured.  Enjoy the game.



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:20 PM, Anonymous janet l graige said...

Evening Eight - Lent

God so loves the world
People so love the darkness
Guide us with true light



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