July 2016

The Gospel in Baseball We’re going to play serious this summer at Calvary in the worship service. We’re going to explore the Gospel as it is found in “America’s past time,” the game of baseball. I realize that the Gospel (good news from and about God particularly associated with Jesus) could be told through other games but none of them has the universal appeal of baseball. Football, basketball, and soccer are serious rivals but for a variety of reasons from the danger of the sport to the lack of American media exposure none of them quite lend themselves to the preaching of the gospel as well as baseball. Although I will be talking about the actual experience of playing the game (one of our members in his 80s still plays in an organized league on a traveling team), I will be concentrating on the major leagues. As you may recall, Harrisburg is a “farm club” for a major league team in Washington, so people in this region can routinely see Senators on their way up to or down from playing for the Nationals. (Another one of our members used to board these minor league players during the season.) Throughout these weeks I “double dog dare you” to play along. Invite unchurched persons to be your guests, especially those who are avid baseball fans. Wear the colors, shirts, and jerseys of your favorite team. Bring your ball hats. We will wear them during the sermon; mine will have a curly “W.” Our organist Jordan will be punctuating the service with sounds of a ballpark organ. We will have special events like “Cracker Jack day at the Park.” The altar will be dressed accordingly. And then we will get down to the serious business of proclaiming the gospel. Part 1 (July 17) Take Me Out to the Ballpark Part 2 (July 24) The Pursuit of Excellence Part 3 (July 31) Umpires Part 4 (Aug 7) Streaks and Slumps Part 5 (Aug 14) Team Miracles Part 6 (Aug 21) Saints (Christy Mathewson) Part 7 (Aug 28) Scapegoats (Shoeless Joe Jackson) Part 8 (Sept 4) Prophets (Jackie Robinson) Part 9 (Sept 11) One Generation to Another In place of our usual book study associated with a sermon series (though I have some good recommendations – just ask), we will go to a Senator’s game on the evening of July 22nd. See below for details. One of the great players of the game, Willie Stargell (Pittsburgh Pirates 1962 -1982) liked to remind people that baseball contests don’t begin with a command to “work!” In that spirit I invite you to weave together your first responsibility as a believer, “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” and the fabric of your memories and experiences of a summer game. In the words of the umpire, Play ball! Pastor Lew...

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