No Golf Clap Please

Every now and again, I am struck powerfully by something I see, or hear, or experience randomly.  In these moments it feels as if I’m being given a gift by God.  Some of them are positive reactions and some are not so favorable.  But each seems to be a reaching out of some kind by God, and so I have come to wonder, often times, why certain things hit me the way that they do.  

I had one such experience this past Monday after turning on the TV, which had been turned to the Golf Channel.  I absently watched what was a rebroadcasting of Saturday’s round of the Waste Management Golf Tournament that was being held in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Then it hit me.  A fairly amazing shot by then tournament leader, Phil Mickelson.  I’ve always liked Mickelson, he’s a lefty and has always been a gentleman, usually in the shadow of Tiger Woods.  But I’ve gotten a sense over the years of watching him play and hearing him speak that he’s genuinely a good guy.  Harder and harder to find these days in the world of celebrities.  

 TPC Phoenix 16th Hole

At any rate, there is no other golf hole like this one, which is in Mickelson’s home town.  It is more like a stadium than a golf hole, and despite the PGA’s best efforts at crowd noise control, the fans get pretty loud.

 As Mickelson, a graduate of Arizona State University, steps up to the tee box to hit his drive, listen to the crowd.  Listen as they are excited for him when he tees off.  And then listen when the ball lands.  

The “it hitting me” moment was a realization that God is doing the same cheering for us, in both our triumphs and our failures.  But it isn’t just cheering and rooting, it is the  creator of the universe loving us forward, urging us to be our best, rejoicing over the things we do, the prayers we pray, and the love we share.  I believe that love is us in our truest form imitating God…or letting loose the God that is in us, as we are redeemed and sanctified through the resurrected Christ. 

 Notice after the shot, and the camera pans back to Mickelson, the scoreboard which says, “Golf Clap.”  Somehow I think that the world wants to tell us to “golf clap,” when God wants us to roar with exuberance.  

 Most of all, in Mickelson’s moment of happiness after that shot lands, I get a sense that God was smiling too… The words of Charlie Price, (a giant in the creation of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and fellow Virginia Theological Seminary graduate) found in the Book of Common Prayer on page 836 came streaming to me: “We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.”  

  Please listen to it with the sound on and up.  Enjoy!



About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
This entry was posted in The Rev. Matthew R. Hanisian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to No Golf Clap Please

  1. Carlyle Gill says:

    Great post, Matthew. Brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never thought of God in quite that way but it sure struck a chord in me. Thank you! Carlyle

  2. Dennis Jones says:

    I really like this Daily Cup post. I’m going to let you decide if you want to keep ‘crown noise control’, an issue few of us can understand 😊 You, in pancake race glory, may have to deal with it as you pile up more silverware. A ‘golf clap’ may be awaiting you as you breast the tape.

  3. John Daniel Reaves says:

    Great cup! It is hard to be cheered for in our failures even when done in love. It is embarrasing when the cheering calls attention to our failure. I remember “blowing” a Bach recital piece when I was about 12. In my nervousness about forgetting the notes (It was played from memory.), I kept my foot on the pedal for the entire peformance! It must have sounded no more than just a roar, but at the end there was my father was applauding the loudiest which seemed more attention-getting when I wanted to find a hole and dissappeaar, and made even worse when the piano teacher had me return to the piano and play it again, “this time without the pedal”. But there was my father still applauding.

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