This years Masters Tournament held an exciting finish and afforded Canadian Mike Weir the opportunity to don the coveted green jacket. The 2003 champion exhibited tremendous consistency and accuracy down the stretch, even into sudden death with Len Mattiace.
For me, the most inspirational moment came from the man who finished second. After an incredible 65 on Sunday in the Masters, Len Mattiace broke down and wept during a media interview just outside the clubhouse. In the interview, Mattiace explained that he was not at all upset about losing the playoff with Weir. He further stated that he wasnt sad; he was simply allowing his emotions to come out.
While standing there, his eyes filled with tears, his wife approached and offered her loving support and encouragement. She asked if he was OK and said, Im very proud of you! Later, during the press conference, Mattiace elaborated on the extreme nature of the emotional swings that professional golfers experience in the setting of a major tournament.
It was a touching and human moment, and I appreciate Len Mattiace being brave enough to be himself in such a public forum.
That scene was meaningful to me because I see the same thing occur each and every Sunday in our worship. There are those who are so filled with gratitude for Gods love in Jesus Christ that they openly shed tears of joy. At the same time, others seem to be overly concerned about keeping it all together. I favor allowing it to all come out as a healthy manner of expressing the depth of our emotion about our faith in Christ. Our God-given emotions (and their outward expressions) are invaluable tools to healthy, happy, holy living.
It is interesting that the early Methodists were labeled enthusiasts by the established church. Yet their passion for singing, preaching, praying and winning souls to faith in Christ was a monumental force in evangelizing the wide reaches of the early American territories. They let it all come out in a variety of ways - some touching and powerful, others humorous and seemingly trite.
Holy Week and Easter are the most emotion-laden days of the year for Christians. In the span of seven days, we re-live:
the excitement surrounding the parade of Jesus into Jerusalem,
the tension between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem,
the pull of tradition in the Passover festival,
the solemn setting of the Last Supper,
the gut-wrenching prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
the injustice of an expedited trial,
the embarrassment of Peters denial,
the disgrace of Judas betrayal,
the excruciating pain and anguish of a death by crucifixion,
the fear in the disciples of reprisals and retribution by religious leaders,
the confusion and wonderment at finding an empty tomb,
the heart-stopping awe at recognizing His risen presence among us,
the indescribable joy in comprehending Easters impact on our lives.
Thanks to Len Mattiace for reminding me that the reality of tournament golf is also a truth of the Christian faith. May it all come out this week for you!
(Rev. Steve Dodson, a Martinez resident, is senior pastor of Trinity On-the-Hill United Methodist Church.)
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