September 29th – Living with our Mediocrity



Novoline Book of ra

In Sir Peter Halls’ direction of Amadeus in London’s West End, some years ago now, Salieri made his entrance on the stage as an old man. All the house lights came up and the stage-whispered confession echoed throughout the theatre “I murdered Mozart”. As the house lights went down again, Frank Findley, who was playing Salieri, stepped out of his old stage garb and straightened up and began now as a young man again, to explain. The entire story is that as a musician his ambition was to be the greatest in the world, and he did become the royal adviser and composer to the king. Then on the Viennese scene appeared an upstart, giggling, socially ridiculous, Amadeus Mozart, but who as a composer was a god compared with the boring and pedantic abilities of Salieri. He wasn’t merely jealous, he was devastated. He had asked God for the gift and it had been given to this sniggering little upstart: so God was at fault. How unfair life can be. Salieri never seemed to think that his request to God was utterly self-seeking and self-glorifying. “Let me be great, O Lord.”
When the play came to an end the house lights came up again, and aged Salieri came centre stage and looked on us all in the audience, and said, in view of all that we had seen “I absolve you from your mediocrity”. The curtain came down, and to waves of applause, but I was embarrassed by my own tears! I pretended I was looking for my coat under the seat, anything rather than be seen, exposed as one whose sense of his own mediocrity had been touched and exposed. To have lived long, to have done one’s best, to have made no mark, to see oneself compared with the truly great and gifted servants of God, to see one’s paltry gifts, one’s mediocrity, is a cruel blow to one’s pride. Oh our insufferable mediocrity!
But then I always feel like this on 29th September, when people wish me ‘many happy returns’. Let us hear the sombre words of Psalm 90 and then the joyful promise of Jesus in Luke Chapter 12 v. 32:
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night ..The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away. Psalm 90:4 and 10
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
A Prayer:
For all greatly gifted men and women of genius, I praise you O Lord, and also thank you for all the one talent folk who make the world go round.
Now read Acts Chapter 12.

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