Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! (Psalm 99:5, ESV)
The golf world has been waiting 31 extra weeks for the start of the 2020 Masters, an event that pros, golf writers, and fans pivot their entire year around. Matter of fact, the digital Golf World and Golf Digest magazines have been headlining a Masters article every day for the last couple of weeks: “Can Bryson break Augusta?” “Ranking the entire Masters field” “How Rory can fix his Masters woes?” “How Augusta will play in November” “The way to enjoy Masters food at home” (seriously, for $150 you can enjoy all of the items typically found on the Masters grounds).
Today is the day! The ceremonial first shot will echo through the air and play will commence. I don’t watch a lot of golf on television, but I do enjoy watching the Masters. While I hope to attend a Masters in person one day, I will settle in with the rest of the world and be captivated by the beauty of Augusta National. It’ll be different without the magical azaleas, magnolias, and dogwood blooms, but maybe a November Masters is just what we need to stir our hope as an unusually surreal year inches to an end.
The Masters is one of those iconic events that captivates golf fanatics and non-golfers alike. It has earned a place of honor that withstands time—past, present, and future. The level of excellence the championship provides is fair and challenging. A quest that will come with smiles and smirks, angst and despair. Players who have earned a coveted spot in the field will feel exhilaration and defeat, and sometimes on the same hole.
Above, I described the Masters as “iconic” and “a place of honor.” Words that elicit the idea of exaltation and worship. I don’t believe it’s wrong for us to elevate this one particular event above others. I do, however, wonder if the teeter-totter wobbles out of balance when we lift up the Masters to heights that attract our worship?
Let’s take a closer look at two words for our Scripture for today. Exalt means to raise, to lift up. Literally it means “raised up high.” Worship is to bow down, to prostrate, to do reverence, or kneeling before the Lord. The psalmist reminds us to lift up the LORD and to bow down at his feet for it is he who is holy.
I want to leave you with a simple message today. Whether you watch every minute of the Masters telecast or as much as time allows you, enjoy it all. Celebrate and commiserate with the players. But, do not forget in the middle of the excitement, there is only One who deserves to be exalted and worshipped. The Lord, our creator, the One who loves us deeply.
November 12, 2020
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