Episcopal Bishops are not known for their sermons. Occasionally when they preach you can find a nugget of wisdom. As they say in Arkansas, “even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn.” Listening to the Bishop’s sermon at the philosopher’s confirmation, I strained to find the prize amongst the Cracker Jacks and although well disguised it was there. Without boring you the Bishop was talking about the need to be connected to the source of our faith and the role of the church in making that connection.
Listening to the sermon, I thought about the English Olympian, Eric Little, in the movie, Chariots of Fire. How the “Committee” tried to separate him from his faith by asking him to run on the Sabbath. Earlier that morning, one of the father’s of the confirmees had to face one of those mini-tests of what is important in his life. His employer had decided to have a conference call during the confirmation service – all hands on deck was his call, no exceptions. Forget that the issue he wanted to discuss was one that had been percolating for days, and like most emergencies was a false alarm. A decision to be absent meant potential termination. The father was being asked to separate himself from his source – his family and an important day in his faith. I felt for him as he agonized over the decision, but like Eric Little in the end there was no question what his answer was to be. He told his boss he wouldn’t be on the call. Whatever the consequences his family and his faith came first.
Like Eric Little the father’s actions do not smack of fanaticism. His actions reflect who he is and his relationship to God. In my humble opinion, he honored the Sabbath and God in a way that few of us would be able to do. I readily admit that my batting average in this league should get me sent down to the minors.
All this said, what this teaches me is that we are often given pop quizzes about what we believe. We all need to be better prepared. Second, we should be careful when we are in the shoes of the boss not to allow our needs to sever others from the source of what makes them valuable.