Baseball According To God
“By his divine power, he has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself, … In making these gifts, he has given us the guarantee of something very great and wonderful to come: through them you will be able to share the divine nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice.
But to attain this, you will have to do your utmost yourselves, adding goodness to the faith that you have… Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away. In this way you will be granted admittance into the eternal kingdom…” (2Peter 1:3-5, 10-11)
Upon reading these verses, a baseball metaphor came to mind, which in turn caused me to wonder why it is so common to use sport metaphors in describing religious truths. Perhaps, it is because at the end of a game, as in life, everybody ends up either a winner or a loser.
This gave me an idea –what if the game of baseball was reverse engineered to better fit St. Peter’s presentation of the Good News; what would it look like? Here’s my go at it… Batter up!
Right off the bat (cheap pun intended), there is a winning team and a losing team. The losing team is named Selfers, and their mascot is this guy staggering around as a giant can of beer. The winning team is named Lovers, and their mascot is a guy waving a giant Cross. The teams do not pick their players. The players pick their team, and they can switch teams whenever they want. Those who want to eat, drink and be merry choose the Selfers. Those who want to live their life for Christ choose the Lovers. The Selfers always have the advantage of greater numbers.
There is no score; and an undetermined number of innings. Neither team knows when the game is over; just that it ends the next time the Lovers’ Manager shows up on the field. The goals of each team are unrelated. The Selfers just want to have fun by hitting the ball and running. The Lovers have their hearts set on getting Home. There is no best four out of seven series –just one Big Game.
Everyone is guaranteed a hit and a chance to run Home. There are no forced outs. A player secures each succeeding base by living for Jesus. The Selfers of course never make it to First, but they don’t care because they are having fun. Anyone failing to love is tagged out, but is eligible to bat again.
There are no Home Runs. The only ones who make it Home are the players who have faithfully run the bases. Those on First have shown they made the Choice and are running in earnest; those on Second have proven their endurance and perseverance; by Third they have found wisdom; and the final journey towards Home is not unlike the path to Calvary.
Many Selfers get tired of living for fun and are driven to taste to Joyful Sweat of the Lovers’ toil; and many Lovers, losing touch with their Manager, become withered –some rediscover his Presence and Power, and some, despair and switch to the Selfers. One can never tell by the player’s uniform whether they will end up a winner or a loser.
To a casual observer, playing the Big Game might appear foolish. But to one who thirsts deeply, it offers Life. Even St. Paul, the New Testament’s greatest sports fan, enjoins us to compete: “All the runners at the stadium are trying to win, but only one of them gets the prize. You must run in the same way, meaning to win. All the fighters at the games go into strict training; they do this just to win a wreath that will wither away, but we do it for a wreath that will never wither. That is how I run, intent on winning; that is how I fight, not beating the air. I treat my body hard and make it obey me, for, having been an announcer myself, I should not want to be disqualified.” (1COR 9:24) ; and again, “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith;” (2TM 4:7).Loving Father, how I long to c0me Home, to rest in your Bosom. Holy Spirit, fill me anew with your passion to Love. Jesus, help me to keep my eyes on the Goal. I want to live for you. I want to love for you. When I cross Home Base, I want to hear you exclaim, “Father, Behold! I have made another like unto you!”