The meaning of Easter brings renewed hope to Christians that through the resurrection of Jesus all is right in our fallen world. And you’re a baseball fan, the opening day of Major League Baseball gives even the most loyal Chicago Cubs fan hope there is a chance for a World Series Title in 2015. Oh how these two days are made for each other.
Before I go any further please don’t think I’m equating a man-made sport with the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. That’s impossible for many reasons, the first being that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a perfect and sinless life on Earth for 33 years and is the one and only path to eternal life. Since mankind fell in the Garden of Eden, Jesus has been the only glimpse of perfection our planet has ever seen.
Baseball, like all other sports is far from perfect, although a nine-inning no-hitter comes awful close.
For my friends who believe that football and basketball are the end-all-be-all, relax. I’m not discounting the excitement of SEC college football in the “Grove” as Alabama and Ole Miss take the field on a crisp Saturday afternoon, the magic of college basketball’s March Madness or three spectacular minutes of the Kentucky Derby.
But baseball is different. The official start of the Major League season coincides with the blooming of tulips and the rebirth of naked trees that have seemingly left me void of emotion since the last leaf fell on Black Friday. It’s not only Easter Sunday that makes me want to wear my favorite seersucker shorts and suits – it’s baseball.
While Easter Sunday may provide the opportunity to break out my seersucker suit and white bucks, the message of Christ resurrection makes me appreciate baseball and life’s other gifts even more.
For me, baseball provides me with a similar emotion, as does a sunrise Easter Service. I am reminded that regardless of what happened last season that I have another chance to start anew, change my lineup of friends and people I associate with or make an adjustment to my stance they can have an positive impact in my performance.
One of my favorite quotes about the game comes from the movie, “Field of Dreams.” James Earl Jones portrayed a fictional writer who like most everyone, thought Kevin Costner’s character “Ray” was insane for building a manicured baseball field in the middle of an Iowa corn crop.
“Ray. People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around”, you’ll say, “It’s only $20 per person”. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Jones spoke of baseball as the one constant of the last 160 plus years. But over the past two-thousand plus years the one constant that brings us hope now and forever more is Christ Jesus. And I am thankful he allows me to make changes, picks me up when I’m in a slump and offers me the ultimate assurance that he will never trade or cut me when my performance lags or I’ve passed my peak years.
As a Christian I want to remind others that when we offer people the hope of a perfect and eternal life and do so in a loving and gentle way, they too will come to know Jesus in a way they cannot fathom. And if its money you have and peace you’re seeking, then Jesus is the only answer.
I am excited about baseball and the experiences it will provide me this spring and summer by watching my son play Junior Varsity at Christian Brothers High School and catching an occasional Redbirds game in downtown Memphis.
More importantly, I crave the feeling of renewal and resurrection that Easter gives me and I am grateful of God’s promise of a perfect and eternal life through faith in Him.