Love, Peace, and the Baseball Playoffs

Read: Romans 12:3-16

This past week in Central Illinois has been filled with fun banter between the fans of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  For the first time in history they have played each other in a Major League Baseball playoff series. By the way, in case you have not heard, the Cubs won the series last night.

This series has tested devoted fans of each team as they tried to balance between cheering on their teams and yet remaining respectful and on good terms with their friends and neighbors who hold different loyalties. 

This week was a reminder of how different people with different upbringings (and teams) could still call each other brothers and sisters in Christ.  We may cheer for different baseball teams (among other things) but we still work together in the church to foster Christ’s Kingdom here on this earth.

In Romans 12 Paul reminds the church in Rome that they all have different gifts that can be used by God to further the Good News of Christ in this world.  He goes on to encourage them to love each other, honor each other, and bless each other as they work together in the body of Christ. 

This reminded me of the story about the tool conference that took place in the Carpenters workshop.  Brother Hammer presided.  Several suggested he leave the meeting because he was too noisy.  Mr. Hammer replied and said, “If I have to leave then Brother Screw must go also.  You have to turn him around again and again to get him to accomplish anything.”

Brother Screw then spoke up, “If you wish, I’ll leave.  But Sister Plane must leave too.  All her work is on the surface.  Her efforts have no depth.”  To this Sister Plane responded, “Brother Ruler will also have to withdraw, for he is always measuring folks as though he were the only one who is right.”

Brother Ruler then complained against Sister Sandpaper, “You ought to leave too because you’re so rough and always rubbing people the wrong way.”  In the midst of all the discussion, in walked the Carpenter of Nazareth.  He had arrived to start His day’s work.  Putting on his apron, He went to the bench to make a pulpit from which to proclaim the Gospel.

He employed the hammer, screw, plane, ruler, sandpaper, and all the other tools.  After the days work when the pulpit was finished, Brother Saw arose and remarked, “Friends, I observe that all of us are workers with the Lord!”

As the series between the Cards and Cubs comes to an end, I would like to remind all fans (even White Sox fans and all others) that we are all workers together with the Lord.  We may cheer for different teams but we follow the same Lord.  We may enjoy friendly banter but let’s keep it friendly and in the spirit of love, peace, and good sportsmanship. 

In verses 5 and 16 of Romans 12 Paul writes, “So in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others…. Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud…. do not be conceited.”  May this hold true in all areas of our lives, especially in the church!

Make it personal:  Whether it’s baseball or other things I hope that we can find ways to be the church in the midst of our differences.  No two people will ever agree on all things but lets take the words of Paul in Romans 12 to heart and be the church that God has called us to be.  Think about how you can foster that in your own life this week.