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Posted by: Brad Miller2/25/2010 9:41 AM
Greetings on this chilly, sunny day,

Yesterday afternoon I heard a familiar sound. A sound that made my heart leap just a little bit. A sound that told me without equivocation that spring is coming. A sound that I heard over and over again. The sound was that of a baseball against a bat at the Oglethorpe University baseball stadium. When I sit at my computer and look out my office window this time of year, I have an almost unobstructed view of the infield of the Oglethorpe diamond. Yesterday they were having batting practice and I could sit and watch ball after ball being hit. After a long winter, it is one of the most wonderful sounds ever. (I know that some of you don’t understand, but that’s okay, because I know Judy Mowrey does, and that’s good enough for me.)

This morning when I got into the office I saw on the calendar that yesterday was the start of spring training. I read a story about the manager of the Detroit Tigers, Jim Leyland, and his excitement on the first day. He said he always tried to downplay his enthusiasm, but it’s hard not to feel good when the baseball is starting up again. It means that the cold months are about to come to an end and spring is truly just around the corner.

For me, Spring training is to Lent what Spring is to Easter. (I can hear some of you now: “Is he really going to try to force some theological significance on to baseball…again?” In a word…yes.)

In spring training, each player must work to get into form. They must shake off the rust of the winter and begin to play their way into shape for the beginning of the season. They must once again take a good hard look at their weaknesses – bad throwing form; a hitch in the swing; a tendency to hit with a “foot in the bucket” making it impossible to hit the pitch on the outside corner; poor fielding position that allows ground balls to too often skip on by. When these weaknesses are exposed, the player has really only one choice: recognize their weaknesses and try to correct them. And Lent strikes me as almost the same thing. Each year we take a good hard look at ourselves. When have we failed to live up to God’s will for our life? How have we turned our back on God and each other? Where can we do better at honoring God? And really, when we come to face to face with our failings, when we acknowledge our sins, we really only have one choice. To recognize our weaknesses and work to correct them.

And as we undertake the hard work of prayer, repentance and study, we begin the work of change and we grow stronger in our faith and in our walk with God. Likewise, the baseball player works on their flaws until they are ready to begin the season, with strength for the season and confidence that they have done all they could to prepare. Of course, you are rightly thinking, some players aren’t ready and they fail in their pursuit. And indeed, we may not always live up to what we strive for on our faith journey, either. But again, there is a parallel: for us, there is always tomorrow, a new chance, a new day to ask for forgiveness, a new opportunity to try again. For the ballplayer, there is the eternal cry of “wait until next year” when once again, hope will spring eternal.

Just something to think about on this chilly day. And I promise, this is the last baseball reference you will read here for quite awhile – unless the Tigers are as good as Jim Leyland thinks they are!

For an updated prayer list and a list of coming events, please go to www.brookhavenchristian.org

For your prayer list:
Martha Low, recovering from hip replacement surgery.

Letha Morris, hospitalized with respiratory issues.

Turley Higgins, continuing to make good progress as he recovers from heart surgery – he just stopped in and says he will back with us very soon. He sends his thanks for the dozens of cards and letters he received from the BCC family.

Jim Sosebee, former minister at BCC, recovering from a fall and a broken bone in his back.

Announcements:

After a construction hiatus, there will be a Fellowship pot luck luncheon immediately following worship this Sunday. Bring a dish or two to share and catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.

AND at about 12:45 (or sooner) after we have had a chance to eat and visit for awhile, we will begin an Official Board meeting. All are welcomed to hear an updated report on the recent renovation and reports on upcoming events.

One of those upcoming events is a Homecoming Weekend on May 15 and May 16. Mark your calendars now and we will fill you in on details later. The plan at the time is to have a dinner and program on Saturday night and to dedicate our renovated worship space during worship on May 16, followed by a reception. Keep watching for more details.

We had a wonderful first Sunday in the “new” sanctuary this past Sunday…it was a joy to be back “home” after several weeks away. Please pay attention to the signs alerting us to a policy of no food and drink in the narthex and sanctuary. Thanks for helping us in this effort to keep those beautiful spaces just that way.

Mark your calendar for April 17th at 2:00 p.m. Our Cambodian brothers and sisters of the International Christian Church will be hosting a dedication of their new worship space and a special dinner to honor the occasion. As I get more information I will pass it along to you.

Finally, if you are interested in learning about Baptism – no matter your age: adults are welcome – I will be holding a Pastors Baptism Class on three Sundays prior to Easter, March 14, March 21 and March 28. Also, let me know if you would be interested in being baptized on Easter Sunday, April 4. The Pastors Class will meet in my office during Sunday School on those three Sundays.

I hope you can make it to worship this Sunday as we celebrate the Lord’s Day together once again. We will gather at 11:00 in the sanctuary and the sermon is titled “Stand Firm” and the scripture lesson is Philippians 3:17 – 4:1. Have a great rest of the week!

Be peaceful,
Brad
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