With apologies to those who hate sports metaphors

I was listening to the recap of a baseball game this morning as I drove to church.

The team that eventually won had been down 6 runs going into the ninth inning. How did they win? One hit at a time. One pitch at a time. They did not try to score six runs at once. They put their focus on what they could control in the moment, not what they could not.

This got my wheels turning.

In the church, I spend way too much time looking for the six-run move. Instead, I need to look for hits. One at a time. Let them add up. And we’ll see where the score is at the end of the day.

Where can I get a hit today? This is a question I’ve been trying to get in my head.

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2 thoughts on “With apologies to those who hate sports metaphors

  1. Dear John,

    I have been enjoying your blog for just a couple of weeks now and want to let you know how much I appreciate your thoughtful comments. After reading your sports metaphor today I flashed on this morning’s worship and thought I would share it with you.

    We are a smaller congregation averaging sixty people in attendance. In the wee hours this morning I received two texts letting me know two of our musicians were sick, and after I arrived at church I discovered our only other option had just called in absent as well. Somehow the idea of being short on talent for the morning gave me a little thrill– what would we do on this first stormy morning of fall? It turned out to be full of grace. First, a young man named Brent asked if I minded if he played a little prelude music on the piano. He said he didn’t know how to play the hymns for us because he didn’t read music, but he quietly approached the bench and improvised for the ten minutes before worship. I didn’t know Brent could do that. Then, during the welcome I explained the situation and invited anyone who was hiding some gift of music in any way to help us fill that part of the service out. They all just looked in their laps and chuckled. But just before the opening hymn, which we prepared to sing boldly but badly accapella, a woman named Maryanne stood up and walked down the center aisle holding her hymnal open. She said “I think I can help. My mother turned 102 this week and this is her favorite hymn. I may not play it very well, but I’ll try my best in her honor.” She charmed us all by playing with mistakes but with great heart, and was willing to stay at the piano for the rest of the service. After the sermon, a young woman named Rachelle who just joined the church a couple of months ago stood up and walked forward. She was blushing when she asked “Did you really mean it when you asked us to share if we were brave enough? I think I’m ready.” She chose a simple hymn, gave it to our inexperienced pianist of the day, and proceeded to unveil her gift by singing “Blessed Assurance”. It was utterly breathtaking- not small church breathtaking; but Seattle Opera crazy beautiful ridiculous hidden gift breathtaking. In baseball terms, she knocked it out of the park. All of us were stunned still as she padded back to the pew. It was a marking moment for the church today. People took risks and the church became the kind of sanctuary where it was safe enough to act with boldness. It was a good day and I thought I’d share it with you- I considered it a hit.

    Marilyn Kallshian (pastor at Central UMC in Sedro Woolley, Washington)

    p.s. It turns out that the young woman, Rachelle, was in fact a professional opera singer in her previous career.

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