The 1st story in today’s Gospel was the Centurion asking Jesus to heal his servant. It is an example of faith which I think should be familiar to most of you.
But now I want to share some thoughts about the importance of faith which came to me as I was reading a book about a very different kind of setting. That book is The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel J. Brown. It is the story of nine students at the University of Washington, Seattle, preparing for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The story of those young men was especially poignant to me because, growing up in Eastern Washington, I was familiar with the places where most of them lived. I was 15 years younger than those boys, but I was familiar with the events they lived through and the places where they lived them.
The only significant differences for me were that before reading about it I knew little or nothing about racing shells and the kind of rowing they did as a team, and the places where they competed in this country, and also the details of their experience in Berlin in 1936. But I did know something about rowing small boats.
Faith and mutual confidence came into the story as the team neared the goal of their qualification for the Olympic Games.
The most significant advice given to the members of that team came from the man who built the racing shells for the university. From his boyhood at Eton College through his years in the athletic department of the University of Washington, George Pocock observed rowers and shared his knowledge with them. It was from him that the boys on that team learned the importance of “keeping their minds in the boat” and of having complete faith and confidence in one another. Those were essential for maintaining rhythm.
Even though the words Church, or God, or Jesus, did not occur in the book, as I read it I felt it was an authentic description of Faith and mutual confidence.
As I read about that my mind went to the importance of keeping those same principles in our minds as we each do our part in fulfilling our vocation as monks of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Since then I have become more aware than ever of how we sing together and pause together. The boys were told to keep their minds in the boat. We fulfill that when we keep our minds on the way in which we live as monks, when we have faith and trust in God and mutually love and respect one another.
For the rest of you; do you live with an awareness of keeping your minds on your duty towards God and towards one another? Do you share faith, and have confidence in one another?
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