Pentecost 14 :: "You have made them equal to us..."

2011 Scotland Trip 96

Crashing waves

Doesn’t it just make you crazy when some young whippersnapper know-it-all comes in and steals all your thunder?

I remember Brett [not his real name] from back in High School. He was a ninth-grader; I was a senior. He played trombone; I played trombone. He was good; I was better—or so I thought! I remember when he challenged me for first chair. [A “challenge” was when someone sitting in a lower position than you tries to take over your spot. It was a way to get students to practice more and get better. You’d better practice, because if you didn’t, someone could come and win your seat.]

Anyway. Brett challenged me one week early in the Fall semester. I was sure to win. After all, I’d been playing trombone for seven years and he’d only been at it for three. I was an All-State performer; he’d never made it past regional tryouts. I’d show him who’s boss!

Well, not exactly. He showed me. He breezed through the audition. I did just so-so. In the end, our Band Director said it was a tie. A TIE? How could he possibly do that to me? Hadn’t I proven how worthy I was? Hadn’t I been first-chair for three years? How could he possibly let this, this freshman sit anywhere near me, much less make him co-chair… or, rather, make me co-chair with him? I was absolutely fit-to-be-tied [quite literally, as it turned out]. This was the first time I realized that it’s not fun being counted as equal to someone. Especially when that someone is a young upstart!

The idea that others are equal to us can be a real blow to the ego. We each like to think that we are somehow special, that there’s some quality in us that makes us more worthy, more important, more loved. Siblings have to wrestle with this reality all the time as they vie for the attention—and love—of parents [or so they think]. But it is a false idea, isn’t it? Good parents simply do not love one child more than another. There may be disappointment in how one child behaves, but love is never withheld as a result.

It would seem that the most overwhelmingly difficult thing to understand about God is that God’s Divine Love is given equally to all: upstarts and old-timers alike. We’d best get used to the idea!

Something to ponder:

Who do you fail to see as your equal?

Link to RCL Lectionary for Pentecost 14

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