Services

Top Topics

Connections

Please join us on these social networks:

Day1 Store

Books, CDs, Videos & more

Visit The Store

The Passionate Jesus

Day1 host Peter Wallace's new book on the emotions of Jesus is, according to Marcus Borg, “An illuminating and powerful personal meditation." Ideal for personal or group study.

Buy Now

The Rev. Benjamin Pratt The Rev. Benjamin Pratt
Dr. Pratt is a retired United Methodist pastor and pastoral counselor. He was the founding pastor of a congregation that remains, after 48 years, one of the most racially integrated of the Virginia Annual Conference. Then, for thirty years he was a pastoral counselor on Capitol Hill and in the City of Fairfax.

Member of:

United Methodist Church


Baseball and Grace

May 10, 2012

 

I don't like seeing my two youngest grandchildren fight.  It is usually over silly things and one usually gets hurt. But, it is almost always revealing of our human struggle.

 

"Why did you hit her?" shouts their Mom.

 

"It's not fair! Those are my water goggles and she took them. You always side with her.  It's not fair," screams my disgruntled grandson.

 

Something in us wants to believe we will be special, and life will be fair.  We want it both ways-special and equal!  What an irony!

 

Jesus told parables about this conundrum. The story of the prodigal son and his elder brother, Luke 15: 11-32, is the best known. Then there is the parable of the vineyard workers, Matthew 20: 1-16, which often leaves us fairness-folks befuddled. The vineyard's owner pays the same wage to those he hired for a partial day of labor as he does to those who worked the full day.  It's not fair!  Why do they get special treatment when we worked the long, hot day and they did not?

 

We aren't eager to confess it but, for the same reasons, we are very uneasy with death bed confessions that lead to forgiveness.

 

Once again, this issue is before us when we least expect it. We don't start reading a baseball tale and anticipate a parable of end-of-life-confession-and-forgiveness. So who else but the master storyteller, John Grisham, would dare to blend baseball and forgiveness, to challenge our disquieted side?

 

Calico Joe is so simple, so direct, so disturbing, so confronting as to haunt our sleep. There is a pitcher whose best years are behind him, if he ever had any good years.  He is an alcoholic, philandering, self-absorbed, abuser who abandons his wife and children. There is a young, rising star who is brilliant at batting, fielding and base-running. This phenom has only been in the big leagues a few weeks when the jealous, nasty pitcher hurls a pitch at his head, nearly killing him.  The young man is blinded, never to play another game. The old pitcher hangs on to his lie of innocence for thirty years. We cry for the young man.  We want to hate the old pitcher.

 

Suddenly, we are back to our childhood and our life-long question of specialness and fairness.  Is it fair for such an evil man to make a death bed confession and receive forgiveness?  Those of us who are like the older brother or the laborer who toiled the long day are not going to sit easily with the possibility.

 

Oh, John Grisham, you devilish provocateur-you blend our great national game of baseball with evil, innocence, revenge and outrageous Grace!  Is that really fair?

 

Benjamin Pratt

 

 


Printer print
Comment comments

Topic Tags

No current tags

Previous Article By This Author

AIGLATSON

Previous Key Voice Article

Eight Reasons Church Leaders Should Talk about Money More

Next Article By This Author

Letters of Faith

Next Key Voice Article

Money, Money, Money

The sermon content on this website is copyright © by the respective authors. For information on reprinting or excerpting sermon materials from this site, please contact us.

Add A Day1 Member Comment

Day1 Member comments have been temporarily disabled.

If you would like to comment, please use our Disqus below: