We continue our summer journey that will take us from Yoga to Crossfit, Baseball to Knitting, Picnics to Movies! There will be space for play and time for prayer. We hope to rest in the assurance of God’s dynamic presence while we seek to identify the way in which God’s Grace comes to us. By focusing on Grace all Summer Long we intend to practice “noticing and naming” the ways Grace appears so that we will improve our skills in this area. We will also pair a scripture passage with our weekly topic.
This week our worship will be grounded in Psalm 25: 1-10 and John Sexton’s Baseball as a Road to God. We will draw upon images from baseball to invite deeper reflection on our own faith journeys. We hope the nuances of baseball will help some among us to see faith and Christian community differently.
Sexton writes, “Unrestrained by time, baseball encourages, almost requires in its most meaningful moments, an appreciation of living slowly and in the moment; the kind of differentiated experience that separates the sacred in life form the profane. This experience is where religion begins. As Rabbi Heschel wrote, ‘it is not a feeling for the mystery of living, or a sense of awe, wonder, or fear, which is the root of religion; but rather the question what to do with the feeling for the mystery of living, what to do with awe, wonder, or fear.’ In a way, baseball’s window into the nature of religious experience is more revelatory, frankly, than the window offered by much or organized religion.”
(Sexton, John; Oliphant, Thomas; Schwartz, Peter J. (2013-03-07). Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game (Kindle Locations 3005-3010). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.)
As we reflect on faith through the lens of baseball this Sunday, we will draw on images from Psalm 25. The psalm itself is an alphabetic acrostic; with each line beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Jerome Creach, an Old Testament professor writes “Although Psalm 25 has this form it seem to have been written as a model prayer, based on the cries of individuals to God in earlier psalms. The fact that model prayers like this appear in the Psalter indicates how important it is regularly to recite words that calls us to faith and dependence on God.” Psalm 25 was sung to call ancient Israelites to deeper dependence upon God. Rooted in this tradition, we will gather to worship in hopes of more fully noticing Grace in our live as we look beyond the game of baseball to the mystery of God.
Recall any fond memories they might have from childhood related to baseball. Have you or anyone you know visited any of the “sacred” ballparks? Have you or anyone you know been converted as a fan from one team to another? When you think of baseball, what elements do you see or recognize that allows you associate with religion and the spiritual life?