Friday, February 6, 2015


By: Andrea Beyke

Failure = the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.  I mean, really…you have Marshawn Lynch!  Run the ball!!  This is all I’ve heard throughout the past week in regards to sports news.  The ultimate mis-call.  Failure.  Forget that they were defending Super Bowl Champs.  Or that the New England Patriots made a timely interception and won.  Or that Seattle played a great game otherwise.  This one failure defines Coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks and the entire game.

Have you ever failed at something?  Maybe you thought you had it in the bag…and BAM!  It all fell apart.   Or maybe you worked excruciatingly hard for something and you fell short.  Either way, you fell.  And of course you failed…we all have!  It’s part of being human.  We take chances to achieve something we think is worth the risk.   And sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we had envisioned.  Failure.

Jesus failed.  In the Catholic lectionary, Wednesday’s Gospel from Mark 6:1-6 provides an example of this:

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.

During our communion service, Sister Marsha Speth, SP reminded us that we are not alone in failure.  Our God has experienced it, too.  Jesus was rejected by his own hometown.  Ouch.  Our Messiah, down for the count.  Our Savior, throwing the interception.  Yes, Jesus failed, but what’s important to note is that the Gospel continues.  The Gospel of Mark doesn’t end with chapter 6.  The fact that the Church still exists today is proof that there is life after failure.  Jesus continued on.  And so did the apostles.  And then the early Christians.  And now we continue on.  What great comfort: to know that we have a God who has experienced failure.  We can relate to the Divine and the Divine can relate to us.  And then, after healing and time, we can continue with the knowledge that the Holy One remains with us and within us.  

Will the Seattle Seahawks ever get over this catastrophic loss?  Will ESPN cover something other than the “Worst Super Bowl Mistake Ever Made”?  Golly, I hope so.   Pete Carroll will continue to be a successful coach, and the “12th Man” will rise again.  

Here’s what I ask you to consider:  what about those who don’t have the opportunity to continue?  What about those who are defined SOLELY by their failure(s).  Their entire life and death are a consequence of their failure.  Death row inmates.  Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done – your worst failure.  Could you imagine that being your ONLY identity?  We believe that there is more to a human than his/her worst failure.  While I know this is a loaded topic, I cannot avoid it.  Take a moment.  Thank God that we have the opportunity to recover from failure, just as God did.  And think about why our government feels they can pronounce which failures are irredeemable…often times based on the defendant’s lack of money (and therefore inadequate attorney) and/or race. 

We are not a perfect people.  We fail.  But we are a people with hope.  We are a people with hope because we know how the Story ends.  Shouldn’t we be advocates for hope, as well?

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