What in the world does a game in Cleveland, OH, on a Wednesday night in November have to teach us about our future as Christians and our life as a church?
Tonight, history will be made. Two of baseball’s most historic franchises meet in a winner-take-all matchup that is guaranteed to be historical, for no matter who wins tonight, our country will see something that no one has seen since at least 1948, the last time the Cleveland Indians were World Series champs. I am rooting for Cleveland tonight, more for sentimental reasons than anything, since for years they held bring training at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, not far from my mother’s childhood home (their last champions trained there when she was a little girl.) This is nothing against the Cubs, for as I mentioned in a Facebook post last week some of my fondest memories of college involved my friend Willie and I eating Johnny’s Pizza while watching Harry Caray ‘singing’ and calling the action. (Yes, I know I am betraying some of my Western Pennsylvania roots because by rule we don’t root for anything in Cleveland…) Either way, I don’t have a deep, passionate interest in the outcome, and will not feel upset at all if the Cubbies win, for I have relatives, good friends, and colleagues who are diehard Cub fans and I will be extremely pleased for them.
Baseball Game 7’s have always fascinated me, going back to the 1991 World Series when we watched Jack Morris pitch a 10-inning shutout for the Twins against the Cardinals (Anna Catherine’s generation will NEVER see a guy allowed to throw 10 innings even if he is holding them scoreless.) What really fascinates me is that there’s not a player on either roster who is not available – every pitcher including guys who threw the day before are up, for there is plenty of offseason to recuperate. This is where we in the Christian faith and in the life of the church have something to learn from our friends in the national pastime…
EVERYONE IS AVAILABLE. EVERYTHING IS IN PLAY. NOTHING IS LEFT BEHIND. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT WILL COME OUT, BUT ANYTHING LESS THAN 100% OF OUR BEST EFFORT IS NOT GOING TO GET IT DONE, NO MATTER THE OUTCOME.
Imagine, just a minute, my friends, what our faith, what our lives, what our community, what our families, what our church – all the things we hold near and dear – would would like if we approached it with the same attitude that Cleveland and Chicago will approach tonight.
GAME SEVEN. Players and managers will tell you that if those words don’t sharpen your focus and get your juices going, then you need to ask yourself why are you playing.
The church’s parallel – that is, words that must sharpen our focus and get our juices going?
HE IS RISEN. Because Christ is risen, we go all in in a way that would make the players for tonight’s game seem totally disinterested. Otherwise, what’s the point of faith?
Sit back, Relax. Enjoy the game. Let the kids stay up late for this is an historical event. And let us be reminded that even better than a GAME SEVEN is HE IS RISEN!
Grace and Peace, Lamar