Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Having just witnessed the absolute demolishment that was Germany-Brazil got me to thinking of the assumptions we make and how, in the final analysis, it is our inner quality that wins the day.
As I mentioned in the previous musing, I’ve been playing at St. Francis Center, a Denver-based homeless shelter. Being in close proximity to those of whom the world expects very little is, in all honesty, awe inspiring. Imagine being in their position: you are generally viewed as being filthy and worthless, surrounded by abject poverty and brokenness (spiritual and physical). I’ve met so many guests at St. Francis Center who are intelligent, lucid individuals who are caught in a negative cycle, identifying themselves with their situation.
Stepping into the very different environment of World Cup soccer, is it any wonder that the five-time world champions would also identify themselves with their situation? They were playing in their home country in front of adoring fans. It was only natural to assume the odds for success were heavily in Brazil’s favor. And yet, their actual quality didn’t match their aspirations, and they were embarrassed by a much more solid German side.
The conclusion here is that, for better or for worse, we often identify ourselves by our situation. How do we break out of this? By reaching towards an ideal or goal that is disconnected from one’s circumstances. Trusting in the grace of God who gave the gift to make music and by adding excellence of effort to realize the potential of that gift.
Reflection Question: How do you find yourself identifying with your circumstances today, for better or for worse?
Today’s Prayer: Dear God, help us understand that praise of your gift should properly be directed to the gift-giver, without which hard work amounts to nothing of significance. Let us be a transparent window onto the benevolent power of you, the triune God.