Baseball is like church. Many attend few understand. ~Leo Ernest Durocher
So true Mr. Durocher, so true.
Unless you've attended a Red Sox game, you haven't experienced a truly fantastic baseball game. To be fair, I have yet to see the Cubs play at Wrigley and I hear the fans rival any Sox fan. Be that as it may, let's just say few ballparks hold the intensity of cheers and fan interaction like Fenway.
First of all, the aroma of Fenway is like no other. The pizza, the hot dogs, the fries, and yes, the Dunks wafting around the stadium creating this overwhelming feeling of just good.
Then the moment you enter into Yawkey Way you feel it, you've never felt anything like it. Understandably you can't even put your finger on it. Well, unless you're someone like me that perceives and studies what is happening other than what my eyes are seeing.
That thing you felt, it's called Unity. Red Sox fans have a united goal and a common enemy. Let's be fair, Massachusetts have a common enemy, and a united goal- especially when it comes to sports. Don't get mad at truth now. In baseball the common enemy is the Yankees, the hated Yankees. It's truly ridiculous if I'm honest, the level of utter hatred that oozes from any self respecting Red Sox fan. Never would you ever hear an ENTIRE stadium chant "YANKEES SUCK!!", when the team isn't even playing the Yankees, nor would you hear that chanted at a victory parade, for a sport that is not in fact, baseball. At the Patriots victory parade this was being chanted while the Patriots were taking their bow.
It's glorious and ridiculous all at once. Even my littlest one gets in one the action.
It's the enemy that unites them. A common foe to hate and revile.
The unity produces the most remarkable occurrence too- a fruit of love and kindness. I'll go to be with Jesus saying "the people in Massachusetts are the nicest I have ever met.", and I know there are many who would fight me on it. No matter, truth is truth.
But the thing of it is at a Sox game, oh my, the niceness pours out in spades. Love gushes from every fan. If you're wearing a Red Sox shirt, expect to receive some love that night. You spill your beer on someone they might be visibly alarmed but when they turn around and see you're on the same team, they'll smile and say something like "nah nah! My bad, I probly knahked it outta ya hand. Hey how 'bout this game huh? Pretty wicked yea?"
I swear they talk like that. Shoot, you might even get the guy you spilled the beer on to buy you another round if he happens to know that guy over on Boylston who sells the stuff with the thing. Anything is possible at a Red Sox game.
When you leave the game, at mind you somewhere around 11pm-12am depending on if they went into extra innings, the love and respect pours through the streets. Oh, except if someone has had a few and sees their enemy. Well, then the fights break out, blood is spilled, cops are called. That gets ugly but, when you see your enemy, you attack, you don't wait for them to pounce.
Crammed in the subway, I mean, jammed like sardines, laughing, singing Sweet Caroline, you literally don't care some guy stomped on your foot with his drunk self. Again, he has a Yastrzemski jersey on so, you know, all respect to that guy.
At the victory parade, it's no different, except now we have a different goal. To cheer on those who worked so hard to do the job they set out to do- Damage to every single one of their enemies. And of course, everyone is wearing a Damage Done t-shirt to cheer on their beloved team. We didn't take part in the work, only whooped and hollered them onto victory. Really we did little for them but never underestimate the power of people being wildly excited for you doing your job. It's an energetic force that spans the globe and time itself. We were witnesses to their accomplishment and we were pushing them on with our voices to go and do it again next year!
Baseball is like church, many attend yet few understand it. Psalm 133 says in the Passion translation- "How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity!"
Oh for real, Psalmist! I mean, I know they didn't go to a Sox game, but I'm thinking this is what they may have had in mind.
It goes on to say, "It's as precious as the sacred scented oil flowing from the head of the high priest Aaron, dripping down upon his beard and running all the way down the hem of his priestly robes."
That is an incredibly weird verse for our Western mind unless you use essential oils. The aroma of an essential oil being poured out, transforming your mind and healing your body- yea that is beyond anything you could know if you haven't experienced it.
Lastly he finishes by giving another example for those who aren't priests, "This harmony can be compared to the dew dripping from Mount Hermon, which flows down upon the hills of Zion. Indeed that is where Yahweh has decreed His blessings will be found, the promise of life forever more!"
In other words, when God's people are unified, there is a harvest of rich and fruitful blessings. Blessing of people coming to know Him, blessings of healing, blessing of deliverance.
If a city filled with people who do not know our God can come together for one goal, one purpose and fight with one enemy, no matter their background and economic status, then why can't a people who claim to be saved by the blood of Messiah do the exact same thing- but better?
Boston is the third darkest city, spiritually speaking, and yet- they got it together when it comes to being unified. For heaven's sakes, many people work in an actual UNION keeping them in the same mindset. Which, I gotta say, isn't a great one, but hey, unity right?
But we have something better! Something far better than any Red Sox game ever on the planet. We have something so powerful, so compelling and yet- Unity is no where to be found.
Daily I see articles and social media posts about this or that person, church, pastor who supposedly teaches something that isn't biblical. You know what they're teaching that's being called out? Miracles and gifts from the Holy Spirit.
Daily I see posts and still more articles about the vaccine being the best thing this the Resurrection or the worst thing since the Fall. All from people who apparently walk daily with Jesus.
Daily I see fights and brawls, people being keyboard warriors for something that is not eternal!!
Just like the World Series, NONE OF IT MATTERS. None of it.
The only thing that matters is there is an astounding number of people being prevented to come to know the Lord in such a tangible way- all because we can't get our crap together and fight our common enemy. That enemy is the Accuser of the brethren. It's his doing that has caused all the gross you see in the world. Him, not God. Him, not your neighbor, brother, sister, child, it's him. That liar from old, the ancient serpent. He's the one whispering fear and hate into your soul.
He's our enemy, and perhaps this may sound heretical to you, but my Sox fans will get it. Perhaps at churched across the globe on Sunday morning the people of God ought to rise up and say "THE DEVIL SUCKS!" I mean, it's not an altogether wrong idea.
Where the Yankees are simply doing a job, the devil is out to steal kill and destroy.
And guess what, like the fans on the sidelines, cheering those who just had the most impressive win, so we too have such a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on- saying "you can do it!!! We're so proud of you!! Keep going!"
That cloud of faith pioneers, they did some awesome and noteworthy things. But we, the people of God are called to do even greater works than they did! Even greater than our Jesus!
Unity. Unity. Unity.
It only comes when we lay aside our favorite doctrines (talk about not biblical), our favorite worship music, our favorite preacher and we pursue our Father's heart. Just as a Sox fan lays aside his status in the community, lays aside the fact the he once had a clean shirt but now there's beer spilled all over- just like that- so we to ought to lay aside everything that is causing us any hinderance and our own propensity for sin. We ought to run our own race, alongside these precious brothers and sisters in the faith- fully fixed on the Author of it all. Who, by the way, endured a Cross for us, endured such shame and torment, for us. But He considered it joy! What in the world?
Don't you want to see a rich and fruitful harvest? Then lay it down, my friend. Put aside your petty concerns. Paul, who was beaten, ship wrecked and snake bitten did after all, call these our light and momentary afflictions.
People of God, something greater is at stake than a Red Sox win. Won't you be willing to have a rich and plentiful harvest with me? They're ready, you just gotta lay it down.