Everyone who knows me knows that I love to watch curling on TV. My former staff at Gateway couldn’t rib me enough about it over the years. I just love it! I don’t know why. It might be that I had to play it while growing up in Newfoundland as part of my Phys-Ed classes and I know how hard it is (even though I completely sucked at it, I gained a respect for the game nonetheless). It might be that I love the patience required of the game. It could be that I am endlessly intrigued by the strategy and skill of the players. But most of all, I think it’s because the best curlers in the world (who are often Canadian, World and Olympic champions) still have to hold down jobs like the rest of us in the off-season because curling doesn’t make you filthy rich like many other sports do.
This year at The Brier, the Canadian men’s championship, something happened that made me fall even more deeply in love with the game. Last year’s Brier champions entered this year’s tournament as ‘Team Canada’. But for reasons that would take more time than I have here to explain, they had a new skip (leader). His name was John Morris, referred to by many as ‘Johnny Mo’. Team Canada had a tough time out of the gates to win, quickly falling to a 2 wins and 3 losses record. By then, most viewers and commentators ruled them out as having any chance to repeat as champions.
But then something beautiful happened. Johnny Mo took his team aside and shook things up. He confessed that he didn’t think he was the best leader on the team and stepped aside as skip. He volunteered to play third (which is the assistant to the skip role) and offered his existing third, a man with a lot of past experience as skip of his own teams, the job of skip of this team. As soon as that happened they began winning. Johnny Mo truly stepped aside and let the new skip lead the team. They went 7 wins and 1 loss in their remaining eight games, making the playoffs in fourth place.
Then the even more impossible happened: they beat three awesome teams in the playoffs to ultimately win the Brier and repeat as Canadian champs. The commentators had this profound thing to say about them along the way: “This is a completely different team, even though the members of the team are the same”.
Johnny Mo hoisting his skip after winning the Brier
What’s my point you may ask? It’s this: we all have crucial roles to play as part of this team. Some of us have more visibly prominent roles than others. Some of us may feel invisible and wonder if what we are doing is noticeable or important. Some feel as though we may have skills to bring to the table but are in the wrong role. Some of us need to humble ourselves and take a ‘lesser’ role for the greater good of the team. But all of us, every single member of this team no matter what your job title is, are significantly contributing to the well-being of the men and women who come to us every day for help. That’s a beautiful thing.
As we continue with our focus on the core value of ‘holiness’ this month, part of what holiness means to me is being honest with ourselves and others about what we think we can bring to the team. Sometimes that means being ‘less important’ in the eyes of the world.
Samuel Logan Brengle said; “A truly humble person does not seek great things for him/herself, but agrees with Solomon when he says, ‘Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud’.”
Honestly, it’s only a few days after the Brier and I can’t remember the name of the skip of team Canada. But even though he wasn’t the boss I sure remember the name ‘Johnny Mo’, because he knew his role and humbled himself for the sake of the goal.
Let’s keep on striving for the goal to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Dion Oxford – Director of Mission Intergration
Prayer of Holiness, Submission and Humility
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
– Thomas Merton