Saturday, September 1, 2007

Close to the ground

Our Gospel reading for tomorrow is Luke 14:1, 7-11, which ends with the familiar verse, "For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

The root of humility is the Latin humus, meaning ground. If we are humble we are close to the ground. We refuse to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. If we are proud we put ourselves on a pedestal. There is a balance in there somewhere between pride and humility. I believe it is called self-esteem. Jesus does not call us to be doormats, and if we have proper self-esteem, we know who we are and what we are capable of doing. Really, proper self-esteem is humility, in that we don’t exaggerate our capabilities, nor do we put ourselves down.

If you accomplished something, I want to hear about it. If you hit a home run or shot a hole in one, or if you won first prize at the fair with your cake recipe, it isn’t bragging if you did it. In fact, it would be false pride not to own up to your accomplishments. But if we get carried away with our own excellence, we can beware of pride lurking at the door. We even need to watch out for being proud of our humility. Nothing helps our humility like a little humiliation.

Life is unpredictable, so it helps to know who we are and to extend kindness to everyone. One day we might be on the giving side, and another day we might be on the receiving side of the same equation.

I am thinking about my experience in the music business in Nashville, Tennessee some years ago. Someone said that he treated everyone the same because the person sweeping the floors at night might write a hit song and wind up owning the publishing company. Your employee today could be your boss tomorrow. So if we stay close to the ground we might have a better chance of remembering that when the chess game is over, the king and the pawn both go back into the same box.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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