Thursday, February 17, 2011

Liturgy part 1 - Golf

golf ball Golf!  You either love it or hate it, sometimes both in one day.  It is either the worst game in the world, or the best thing ever…. depending if you are having a good swing day.

So what is the purpose of Golf?  To hit the ball with a club, and have it land as close as possible to the flag, preferably right into the hole.  That is all.  Simple.

golf When you started playing golf, did you just read a book, and pick up the club with your one hand and start swinging?  Maybe, but I doubt it helped much.  You might be the one-in-a-million golf prodigy who can just grip-it-and-rip-it with no thought for the basics.

Most people started by choosing a grip.  They based it on the grip that others suggested to them.  The learned from the golfers who had gone before, in terms of what worked and what didn’t. 

golf-grips Some swings felt more comfortable than others, but gradually they determine what is the best grip to achieve the goal.  Getting as close as possible to the flag.


I do have a point here, I promise.

Over time, you gradually develop your own style, and grip.  Your stance changes, all the time in an effort to get the ball closer to the flag.  It is unlikely that you will completely abandon years of wisdom, and try find your own stance.  More likely you will keep the best of it, but make it work for you.

Always keeping your eye on the goal… getting closer to the flag.

Kind of like church traditions and liturgy.

We all have the same goal here, to get closer to God.  Simple.

But unless we are the one-in-a-million spiritual prodigy, we probably won’t be able to do it all at once in our own knowledge.  Instead we follow what other people have done for generations to get closer to him.  We choose to follow the traditions, and words, that other people have found help them to get closer to God.

Of course, over time, we will see what helps us to get closer to Him, and what stands in our way.  We will find a “stance” that is more comfortable to who we are.  We will decide if we like to chip, or drive.  We will figure out what grip is most efficient for us, all with a view to reaching the ultimate goal.

Getting closer to God.

Greater minds than ours have tried for hundreds of years to draw closer to Him, isn’t it arrogance for us to think we can figure it all out on our own?  Isn’t it stupid to try and move away from their wisdom, just because “I don’t need tradition to meet God”?

Don’t forget, the goal is not to be the coolest kid on the golf course.  The goal is to get closer to the flag.

So what about you? 
Do you like liturgy and tradition, or do you just do what feels right?

Tomorrow we will look at this question in a little more depth. 
(And with less sporting terminology)


  1. I don't play golf, but my son does. He has what his instructors have called a perfect natural swing. The long game is not an issue, it's the short game that needs work. I think that analogy works with liturgy and tradition as well. Our short game is what messes us up sometimes.

  2. This was thought provoking, I think it's a bit of both as everyone needs to workout their own salvation & find what works for them to know God more. I love that we don't all fit into the same mold.

    Can't wait for tomorrow's post

  3. I think you did a great job with your metaphor.

  4. I do not know why, but this post has got about 100 spam comments in the last three months. Clearly spambots like golf as well.

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