A Shot Heard Throughout History
Baseball season is in full swing. This summer game of purely American origin is filled with tradition and contradiction. Though a pastoral game, baseball emerged in the cities. It’s the only game where the defense controls the ball. It’s a sport where a strikeout can still land hitters on base and stealing is encouraged.
Many purists note the divine beauty and mathematical preciseness of baseball. It’s a game of threes (three strikes, three outs, three bases) and three squared into nine (nine players, nine innings, 90-foot base paths). It’s both a slow and speedy game. Unless a tie is broken, a baseball game can conceivably last forever through extra innings. And yet this sluggish game boasts 100 mph fastballs and screaming line drives. If you don’t pay attention, you can get hurt. Baseball is a sport of deep tradition, fervent patriotism, and glorious history; a competition devoted to memorials and milestones, though peppered with cheating, gambling, and deception.
Baseball sounds a lot like the church.
Today, as we gather to memorialize Christ’s death and reflect upon the cup and the bread, representing Jesus’ blood and body, we fully recognize the deep tradition and history of this sacred sacrifice. As we look around at our brothers and sisters in Christ, we gratefully recall the devotion of saints throughout history.
In Colossians 2:13-15, Paul writes, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Essentially, 2,000 years ago, Jesus ended a centuries long game of law, sacrifice, and priesthood with one grand swing. Jesus’ death paved a base path for man to gracefully slide home. The Messiah’s pinch-hit performance hammered a shot truly heard throughout history. Then, to add insult to Satan’s injury, Jesus stole home to pilfer death and Hell forever. The cross, like a baseball diamond, sparkles with perfect 90-degree angles.
You see, Christianity, like baseball, is a beautiful thing.
So as we partake of these sacred emblems, let us remember the one who pioneered a new and living way, changing history and hope. We may not be safe at home yet, but through Christ we are certainly more than conquerors.
Rick Chromey is a pastor and professor living in Eagle, Idaho; www.rickchromey.com.