It’s officially baseball season! That means from yesterday to Sunday, September 29, I’ll be catching parts of (or at least following) all 162 games in the regular season and dream of more in the playoffs. =) I’m a Los Angeles Angels fan, thanks to my sister and brother-in-law who took me to my first game when I was around 12 years old. I fell in love with the stadium, especially all lit up at night, and felt like the Angels were “my” team, basically because they were my big sister’s. =)
Even before I really understood the game, I loved the perfectly manicured green fields, hearing the crack of the bat and the thump of a catch, watching players slide into bases and jump up and down like kids when their team made a great play. I even loved the spectacle of disputed calls when coaches, officials, players and managers would gather in heated huddles to try to state their case for the way a certain call should have gone, and wondered at the self-restraint when hands were (mostly) used for pointing and throwing up in the air instead of pushing or slugging. There are rules to the game and it’s important to maintain integrity with those rules if the game is to remain fair. They can, and do change (for better or worse!), but not without both teams knowing beforehand what they are. Fair and square.
I’ve had that image of disputed calls in my mind today, or rather what happens after the calls – and after the game. Lots of times you’ll see players genuinely congratulating their opponents who, just moments ago were trying their best to all-out crush them. You’ll likely see a manager having a friendly conversation with the same official that they were practically spitting in the face of with anger in the 5th inning. Even in bitter defeat, you’ll see players pausing at the stands after an exhausting 9 innings to autograph balls, shirts and hats just to bring smiles to the faces that just watched them lose. (Of course, the winners do too, but that has to be a little easier!)
So how and why do you think people can be friendly after a heated call dispute and sign balls when they’ve just lost a series championship?
It’s for the love of the game.
In victory or defeat, baseball gets in their blood and the overwhelming love for the game far surpasses any individual call or disappointment. It’s why true fans keep watching their teams, hoping that this will be “their season”, knowing that if it’s not, they’ll still hope again next year….
We Christians are a funny lot. There is so much we have in common, not the least of which is the belief that Jesus Christ has come to bring hope to the hopeless, to teach us how to serve and think and love like He does and ultimately to set us free from death itself. That’s pretty important stuff to agree about, and for the most part, they’re part and parcel of the Christian faith.
Noooooo problem! Well, except that different “teams” (stretching the metaphor here!) have different perspectives and different methods of reaching the goal – of bringing people to Christ. Some focus on inner city ministries and others are rural, some are full of diversity and others mostly look and think alike. Some are eager to see the game change and others feel compelled to hold to tradition. But even with all the different ways of thinking and interpreting Christianity, sometimes even in heated huddles with fingers pointing and hands waving in the air, there is still one thing that unites us all….
We love Jesus.
I don’t mean to trivialize what are sometimes extremely important and valid conversations, but wouldn’t it be great if, at the end of those “call disputes”, we could shake hands, offer regards for a good grappling of convictions, and show respect to others who love God as much as we do?
Just a thought as we’re mid-way through the Lent season and at the start of baseball season. =)
Grateful to be in this season with you,
The City Harmonic
We believe in Father Spirit Son
We believe that good has won
And all of the people of God sang along
We are free He died and lives again
We will be a people freed from sin
We’ll be free, a kingdom with no end
And all of the people of God sang along
Our father who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who have trespassed against us
Lord lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom, power and the glory forever