Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pelé & Priesthood

It was the writings of Daymon Smith that convinced me to view the idea of "priesthood" differently.  He refers to it in a way as to suggest that, similar to the word neighborhood – which suggests an association of neighbors – that priesthood might similarly refer to an association of priests. 

What's a priest?  In religious terms, it is one who has been chosen to participate in religious rites.  In spiritual terms, a priest would be one who receives the power of God.

It supposes me that there are many priests on earth, who have no formal religious ordination, but have received power of/from God.

Pelé: Birth of a Legend, demonstrates this concept.  Below are the final few minutes of the movie.  (I recommend the entire movie.)  The movie largely focuses on how Pelé advances in the soccer world, as a very young man (17 yrs old), and is trammeled in his talents and skills.  He is forced to make a promise mid-movie that he will NOT play soccer on the world stage in the fashion that comes to him naturally.  It was called ginja.  To be permitted to continue playing he must play someone else's way. 

In the minutes preceding this clip, we see Pelé's teammate giving him the encouragement he needs to ignore the promise he was forced to make, and to play with the gifts he was born with, and developed through his life's experience.  It wasn't that his teammate said so, but the friend acknowledged and supported him in being who he was born to be.

Some poignant moments:

  • Pelé's playing in a stadium filled with European "enemies" of sorts.  The opposing coach had been quite scornful toward their team earlier in the movie.  Sweden scores, confirming the public scorn the coach had launched prior to the game. 
  • About 4:50, Pelé looks above the jubilant crowd, and observes the handful of dark-skinned Brazilians, nearly in the peanut gallery, and so much more is conveyed than a losing side's sadness.  He realizes he's been playing someone else's way the whole game, and their team has been on the losing end because of it.  Seeing Brazilians high up in the crowd reminds him who he is. 
  • About 8 minutes, he looks at his teammates with whom a special bond had already formed.  Time seems to slow as these men are reconnecting.  They have already become close enough as to form a very strong brotherhood.  It manifests here. 
  • About 8:48, commentators observe that he's "smiling".
  • 8:53 the Brazilian commentator speaks of the players acting in "perfect harmony".
  • 9:00 the movie shifts to the view of Pelé's father, sitting among his peers in a crowded room, watching his son from very much afar – around the world even, through a tv barrier. You feel his pleasure, honor, joy for his son.  He smiles deeply.
  • 10:45 Pelé's dad discovers his wife in the crowd of jubilant Brazilians, watching via tv, and they connect. 
  • 11:45 Pelé faints and his brothers hoist him up on their shoulders.  
I was shown that this is priesthood – an association of priests.  Or in other words, this is how priesthood functions.  Priesthood is when I think of my friend and she calls me, needing help, because we are connected invisibly through love.  It is when I'm in the shower, and am led to offer to volunteer to serve someone just before they ask me for help.  It's a stitching power, which while invisible to most mortals, knits our hearts together so that the unlikely can happen in some sort of synchrony.  It's a sort of heavenly magic. 

This kind of priesthood cannot be controlled, sold, or harnessed, because it's not something that man can pass around like some sort of tangible "thing".  Unless one has this power of love.  Then the power is often nearly tangible.  When there is not love, it is broken, as the stitching is less strong. This is why Christ indicated that the greatest commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we cannot have love for all three – God, our neighbors, and ourselves – we have no priesthood, or association of priests.   

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