Pentecost 75


In the book “Praying for Strangers”, author River Jordan states:  “I can be a woman who prays for strangers but remains completely blind to their bruises.”  How many people did you pass today?  Now, answer me this:  How many people did you really see?  With all the sensory overload of the holidays we often become indifferent to the people of the holidays. 


Very few of us will be able to purchase everything we would like to give to those in our lives.  What we forget is that by giving of ourselves, we give them the most precious thing – our attention.  Writer Kathleen Norris talks about our lives having a liturgy of their own and that each life has a sacred rhythm unique to each of us.  Far too often we go through our lives with the mute button pressed down when it comes to hearing the rhythm of those we love and care about.


Too many people go through their daily living with blinders on, not really seeing the person standing next to them.  We share common ground and yet act as if we are alone.  We have the power to make someone’s day just as we have the power to ruin their day.  What will you choose?


A recent video has been circulated on Facebook regarding the 2013 Olivet, Michigan middle school football team and a student named Keith.  The student named Keith was a special needs student and had very few friends at the public middle school he attended.  Another student, Justice, more popular and on the football team, explained:  “He’s never been cool or popular.”


That was before the team decided to do something for Keith who always encouraged them, hugged them, and was quite possibly their biggest fan.  They called it the “Keith Play” and kept it a secret from their coach.  They executed their play at the end of a game in October, 2013.  It required whoever had the ball, this time wide receiver Sheridan, to deliberately falling down on the 1-yrad-line instead of running the ball in for a touchdown.  The Olivet fans groaned in disbelief.


The next play involved a pass-off to Keith and the team pushing him across the goal line.  Keith, the student that nobody liked and most ignored had just made the touchdown – the first of his life.  Keith described the event in one word:  “Amazing!”


As football season gears up and preseason professional games are getting underway, it is timely to take a moment and ask ourselves about what plays we will make today in our own lives.  It doesn’t require a huge nonprofit or large bank account.  By thinking of others instead of ourselves we can make a difference in the life of someone we might pass every day but never really see.


After his touchdown, everyone in his school saw Keith.  He no longer sat alone at lunch but at the same table as the other football players.  The kids in his school talk to him and Keith has undertaken and achieved things never thought possible.  The biggest change, however, has been to the other players on the field that night.  Justice remarked: “I went from being someone who mostly cared about myself and my friends to caring about everyone and trying to make everyone’s day.”  One touchdown may have just saved the lives of all involved.  Helping someone cross a goal line can become the action that helps us all success in life.


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