Smith, R 4/2/17

Depending on your fondness for basketball, you have either enjoyed or endured March Madness.  (Congratulations, either way!)  An observation came to me last week, something I had not thought of before.

Those of us who watch basketball have gotten used to watching a player prepare to shoot a free throw.  When a referee hands the ball to a player at the free throw line, the player does not just quickly and haphazardly hurl it in the general direction of the basket.  Rather, the player goes through a learned, practiced sequence of actions designed to physically, mentally, and spiritually prepare the player to achieve the goal…which is, in this case, THE GOAL!

What an interesting parallel between the actions of free throw preparation and prayer.

  • BODY—Still yourself, relax your muscles, breathe, posture yourself appropriately, perform a physical ritual (dribbling, sign of the cross, etc).
  • MIND—Empty your mind of distractions, focus, visualize yourself “following through,” keep your eyes on the prize.
  • SPIRIT—Empty your spirit of all anxiety and fear, be at peace, let positive energy (ie God) bring your body, mind, and spirit into one Holy Trinity.

At different points on our journey of faith, it is natural to tire of “rituals” and even question their authenticity and effectiveness.  BUT in times of true need, when words escape us, and we don’t know what to do, those rituals may be the one thing that can lead us to a familiar place of peace.

And, in the end, we can remember that our present situation is just a game; Jesus, God, Love ultimately win, and we are all on that team and share in that victory!

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

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