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.
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.”