1983 was the year the first version of Microsoft Word was launched, the English rock band The Police released Synchronicity with its hit single Every Breath You Take, and the O’s won the World Series, beating the Phillies. Those were the days when Cal Ripken, Jr., fielded grounders to Eddie Murray on first. You could count on Dennis Martinez for the win, Tippy Martinez for the save. In fact, every position, every player, could be counted on, to get that final out or to get runners home.
Yesterday morning, Team Redeemer pulled together to send one of our own Home. Bert Landman cast a spell with the organ, transforming our sanctuary, ever so subtly, into a stadium. Alex McMahon and Patty Campbell brought out all the equipment and got everything ready for gametime. Jim Gary, Anna von Lunz, Pete Partridge and Bob Carroll stood ready at their posts, greeting folks and handing out programs, courtesy of Barb Hart. Giang Vu and Mark Schroeder made sure the sound system worked, so every word, every song, could be heard by all. Leigh Lowe carried our team banner. Caroline Stewart opened with words of victory. David Ware preached a grand slam. And Ellen Chatard stepped up to pinch hit in the ninth (when wine was running low in a chalice).
Seasons come, seasons go. This Saturday is Opening Day for the Roland Park Baseball League. Sunday is the final Sunday of the season of Lent. Monday is Opening Day at Camden Yards. The following Sunday is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. Sanctuary or stadium, practice or gametime, the big questions are the same on the playing field of life.
How will we play, the position that’s ours to play? How will we “show up” day in, day out? Will we do what needs to be done? Will we be a team player? Will we give it our best shot, give it all we’ve got? Will we stay awake, ready and focused? And at the end of the day, when we hang up our uniforms, how will we define “victory”?
As Christians, we have a playbook and a rich tradition of coaching. “Watch what God does, and then you do it,” one coach says, “like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with God and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. … Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep …
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get.”
Life, after all, is full of chances and opportunities to live and to love well. Every day is Opening Day until we go Home…to a New Day.
In loving memory of Winston R. Blenckstone.