Mudville Verse 2

This is a transcript from the September 1, 2019 sermon, so it contains the character of live, spoken communication.


Jesus looked at the world. This occurs to me Jesus looked at the world in a new way. He looked at it differently. Can you hear it, Bob? When the world looks at itself, it sees limits. When we look in the mirror, we often see what's not quite right. When we look at our skills, we always see somebody else who can do it better than we can do it. The world looks at itself and sees limitations. Please, let's be smart about this one. After all, there are limits. Jesus saw the world differently.


In Jesus' time, when the world looks at itself, it saw the same as we see today. They appeared through the spectacles of the law and saw how far from wonderful they were. They saw how wrong they were, or at least how wrong the other guy was. Christ usually saw things differently. Jesus chose 12 disciples that were probably-- we would probably have passed over.


Fishermen don't have the right dossiers. Jesus saw something else in these people. He saw the potential that we might have missed. Jesus saw a lot of things differently. He called the All-powerful, Omnipotent, Creator of the universe, Daddy, Abah. He saw the possibility of intimacy with God, where no one else would even look. He saw an adulterous as a forgiven person. He saw a child as the way to see the kingdom. He saw a blind man as healed. He saw water jugs full of wine. Every time Jesus looks he sees possibility. I want to look, I want to learn to look at people and situations like that. Now, but it's not reasonable to look like that, there are limits. No, it's not reasonable, it's imaginative.


"Boy now get a grip, listen up here if we were meant to fly, we'd have been born with wings." The Chicago Cubs are never going to win the World Series. 20-foot pole fault, four-minute mile eight-foot high jump. That's impossible. There are limits to what we can do. Get a grip here, you just cannot walk on the moon. Paul said that we could do all things, not some reasonable things through Christ who strengthens us. It's from Philippians. We don't believe that. Kids believe that. Unless you become as a little child, you can't access the kingdom.


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Kids are astronauts and doctors and super athletes until we give them the reality lesson. What if we entered possibility without automatic limits? How would Christ woe us through life? Differently, It's not our lean linear reasoning. It's the creative imagination of God that can catapult us further than we ever thought. What if we became crazy through Christ, it did make us capable of trying things that sane people just don't do. We might just approach changes with a look of possibility and excitement. Instead of, "Oh, I don't think it's going to work."


Last time, I got to talk to you we talked about what makes you tick. If any of you remember that if you put that away. What your passion is and how we can notice that God is there no matter what your passion is. Needlepoint, stock market, Broncos, hiking, but whatever it is, search for God and and find Him. Though indeed, He is not far from each one of us. I shared that one of my passions was cello. Even though biblical references to cellists is strangely minimal.


I know that I am centered there and God dances with me there and I still want you to tell your story about that about where God dances with you. Where is it? In your crank, turning interests, and in mind, God is in plain sight. People who have too much time on their hands, call God in plain sight. Deus revelatus. The revealed God. We see evidence of God in our loves. Do you feel God's wind beneath your wings there? I think our potential is there.


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There is always an opposite. People with too much time on their hands call it Deus absconditus. The hidden God. God created everything so God is everywhere. How can God be hiding? How can the great and powerful God be hiding? How could we miss seeing God? Why do we sometimes feel like God is nowhere to be found? What if our potential is also there? The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Scripture says, "If we look for God, we will find God. You will seek Me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."


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Imagine if you will, if you had time. When you weren't doing someone else's bidding, a block of time when you didn't have to do shows. A time when you didn't have to prepare for the next thing or rest really from the chaos. What would you do with truly open time? How would you spend your unfettered moments? Perhaps that is what you love your true potential. As a young person, I had cello and baseball. Baseball was also a place where I found centering passion. Where was your passion as a kid?


There was something about baseball that was bigger than a kids game. There was something divine about it for me. Well, there is magic and mystery all around the game. They try to intellectualize it, they try to measure that magic with statistics about every element of the game. The percentage that a batter is more likely to hit to the opposite field on a night game on Tuesdays given that there is one runner on second base with two outs facing a left-handed pitcher who had a light breakfast. 


You can't do a stat on a feeling. By the way, I think we try without success to intellectualize the faith. I felt my way down the aisle to accept Jesus. It wasn't an analyzed decision. They're obviously not the same baseball and the faith but they're both clothed in mystery. From the memories of sandlot heroics to Casey at the Bat. Mystery, in earnest there's a famous poem, The Great Casey let perfectly good pitches go right by him and then he went for the third and you know what happened.


There is no joy in Mudville, mighty Casey has struck out. The town is devastated. The romantic tales of your-- They say that Babe Ruth went to the plate and called his shot. They say that. Have you heard that? They said he went up to the plate and pointed to the outfield bleachers, and then he hit a home run. It's hard enough to hit a home run but then he hit a home run right where he pointed. Now, that's some prophetic stuff right there. When I was a kid, maybe you too, I understood how God could be hiding. Deus absconditus. My parents fought angrily, with great volume, and colorful demeaning venomous language. I can still hear it, but when they came to a game, to watch me play, they stopped. Deus revelatus, God in plain sight.


The baseball field became a place of peace, a field of dreams. I played every chance I got. That carpet of green grass became a pastoral soothing Cathedral. It became divine. Where are your places of peace? When I'm in this room, I feel a life-changing mystery and beauty and excitement, when I'm in this room. We can also feel the presence of God through our passions, whatever they are, even baseball.


In one game, a friend of mine said he was called in as a relief pitcher into a game. The score was tied in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bases were loaded. The pitcher before him got them into a fix. Bases were loaded two outs. He went in as a reliever to face, of course, their best batter. We got two strikes on him and three balls. It was a full count. The next pitch would be it, could be it. He went into his windup and right here he said he knew what was going to happen. He felt it.


Mudville verse two. He strolled up to the plate as if he owned it, so nonchalant. He tapped his bat upon his heel. He took his own sweet time and then he took his hat off and he placed it back upon his head like a crown of gold and steel. He smiled at the man in blue said something nasty to the catcher, and he nodded to the Eastern Stands, and he winked as if to say, "It's coming your way."


Then all at once, as quickly as he winked, he stepped out of the batter's box and the umpire stopped the game. He slowly turned around, and he raised his head above him, and he looked at all the multitudes as if he knew their names. Then he picked his spot, and he raised his hand and pointed, and he pointed once again, and he smiled a gleaming grin, all the crowd applauded and chanted out his name and everyone who came that day knew that he could win.


The pitcher took his windup, and he paused above his head and something seemed to snap inside his brain. He let go of that ball with smoke upon its hide. Strike. It's all the umpire said. The crowd gasped, but louder did they cheer when strike two was the next thing that they heard. Then the pitcher paused and stared the batter down, and nothing then was spoken. You could hear what they were thinking. The final kick, the final pitch, one more release of ball and that inning would be history to tell. No one will forget what happened on that day.


Everyone would learn his lesson well, that nothing stood between the dreams of those two men and what they wanted, but only one of them was going to be the victor here. The ball flew through the air. The batter took his stride. You could hear what happened by the way the crowd did cheer. You see, it's all in your attitude. There's nothing that you can't do if you try. It's all in your attitude. There's no valley so low, no river too wide. Why don't you give yourself some latitude and you will discover that you can fly. It's only your altitude that keeps you on the ground, so get up and get your piece of the pie.


My passions may seem silly to you. They may seem silly, but I feel God there. God is with us wherever we go in this world. Jesus looked at the world differently. He saw potential where we don't see it, the potential to find God anywhere. Listen to God's word about who we are and what we can do and what we can become, and stop listening to human reason. There is the promise that we are more than we think we are because we are really who God thinks we are.


If Christ taught us anything, it's how to look at the world and each other and ourselves differently, from a new perspective. Look for the potential instead of always looking for the limits, and we will discover that Jesus has been waiting there all along in possibility.