Who is excited with me that baseball season is back in full swing? I realize it's not as fully embraced as America's game like it used to be ... I know it can be slow and seem to sometimes move along at a snail's pace ... and I understand the Major League season may last a bit too long ... but it's still a great game!
I think one of the things that makes it so great is that kids can really enjoy it. If you haven't watched kids play baseball in a while, take a trip up to the Moody park one Saturday and just watch - you'll have a blast! The Boykins were one of those families who seemed to live at the park for several years. Three of our boys played baseball there and I often tried to help coach their various teams (may be the reason none of them made it to the pros!) It's just so much fun to watch kids learn the game and develop their skills and have fun doing it. I wouldn't trade all those sunburns, long days, buckets of sweat, tired bodies, and long hours for anything.
Then, of course, there's the dark side to park ball. In many ways it's sort of a laboratory to see the depths of your own sinful heart. Pride is exposed when your child and/or team is better than others ... anger shows itself when the umpire makes an obviously bad call that may cost your child a college scholarship ... greed displays itself as you find "creative ways" to get more practice time on the field than others ... self-righteous hearts are evident as you realize many dads and moms are in this for themselves rather than for their kids ... rage shows up when you publicly scold your child for not performing as expected ... envy raises its ugly head as you see that most other children have better equipment (bats, gloves, etc) than you provide for your child. Though this list could go on and on I think you get the idea - though baseball at the park is a lot of fun, you better guard your heart!
There is, of course, the best baseball option of all here in Moody ... the Miracle League. Seriously, if you've never been to a Miracle League game you need to go! Every player gets to play ... players hit and score every time they're at bat ... every team always wins ... nobody gets mad when it takes 30 swings to finally hit the ball ... nobody is worried about having the best equipment ... no umpire has ever made a bad call ... everybody starts and finishes the game in a good mood. Mental and physical handicaps have a way of leveling the playing field. Knowing that every player on the field has a broken body and mind radically impacts how you view and process the game. I've literally seen someone with a healthy body wrap himself around another with a broken body, unite his healthy arms with the non-functioning ones in order to help him swing the bat and hit the ball, then carry this person with useless legs around the bases all the way to home plate and score - and then see the smile on the face of the kid with the broken body after doing all that and getting credit for a home run! How can anyone not love this game?
I contend that, in a similar way, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ levels our playing field. The cross reminds us that every single one of us are sinners with broken minds and bodies and wills. The cross and resurrection shows us that all who are in Christ are winners. The cross takes away our need to feel prideful about our performance, or be mad because someone messed up, or worry about what "equipment" someone else has, or be so impatient with others because they're not as efficient as we desire, or feel guilty for not measuring up. The cross and resurrection reminds me that I'm that kid who needs Jesus to wrap Himself around me and hold my useless arms, legs, heart, mind, will, etc. and do for me what I can't do for myself. This Easter season let's be reminded of the gracious work of Jesus Christ on our behalf and be careful to give Him all the glory and praise. And also, to share this good news with others who, like us, simply can't make it unless it's in the Miracle League.