“All who were down on their luck came around…” 1 Samuel 22:2 (The Message)
Happy Friday the 13th! (If you didn’t know that already, sorry to break the news!) Happiness, I realize, isn’t what most people associate with this day. Friday the 13th is synonymous with bad luck. Many ideas about the origin of Friday the 13th go back to Good Friday, the day Jesus and his disciples (13 in all) gathered for the Last Supper, which was on the 13th day of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. Another theory goes back to Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, when the King of France arrested members of the Knights Templar, because he wanted their treasury, and ended up executing them. This theory was promoted by Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code.
Anxiety surrounding this day led to all kinds of fears about the number 13, such as high rise buildings (especially hotels) that just skip over 13 when numbering the floors (so does that mean if you stay on the 14th floor you are really on the 13th?). This is a real fear for enough people that there is a phobia named for it: triskaidekaphobia, extreme superstition regarding the number 13. Which gets me to thinking about the whole matter of luck, and I’m not talking about Andrew.
Gary Player was a great golfer from South Africa. He won many tournaments with amazing puts and shots. Some newspaper columnist would pan his victories somewhat by saying that Player was a lucky champion. This prompted Gary Player to reply, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”
It's easy to get caught up in the thinking of cosmic forces that either blow for us or against us. The problem is, when bad luck comes, this thinking can neutralize us from doing anything to change our luck. Some even attribute this to God. “God must be against me, that’s why all this bad stuff has happened.” Well, if God is against us we might as well give up!
Of course, this isn’t how God works. God doesn’t sit around and toy with us deciding it’s time for us to have a Friday the 13th kind of day, as if God gets amusement that way. What God does do is invite us to put our faith into practice and see how it changes our outlook. When we start to focus on bad luck, we are usually focusing on our own luck. Faith pulls us out of ourselves. It puts attention on others’ needs. When we do this we start to find ourselves feeling lucky. Don’t believe me? Try it.
Tomorrow is our annual I Love My City Day. St. Lukers spread out all across Indianapolis, starting with our own church, to do projects that help and bless others. We will begin at 8:15AM with breakfast in the Great Hall. Mayor Joe Hogsett will be with us to bring greetings and offer his blessing for the day. You can still sign up for a project.
So instead of spending your day anticipating problems, focus on where you can put your faith into practice. Maybe you’ll also be saying, “the more I practice the luckier I get!”
See you Sunday,