Some families spend their summer vacations traveling to national parks. Mine visited national ballparks.
Many of my best childhood memories took place at these parks—singing the seventh inning stretch with Harry Caray at Wrigley Field, cheering for the sausages at Miller Park, watching the Red Sox score twenty-two runs at Fenway, and celebrating Cal Ripken Jr’s birthday while chewing on Double Bubble at Camden Yards.
There’s something about a major league baseball game that makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. The ballpark is a magical place where old and young, rich and poor, fathers and daughters all gather for one common purpose: to enjoy America’s favorite pastime together.
At each baseball game, you form a sort of family with the other 20,000 fans in the stands. When the lights go out and your new family members return to their respective lives, your heart aches just a little. Even grown men have been known to shed a tear or two at the end of the season. But there’s always the promise of next year (just ask our beloved Chicago Cubs).
Why do we love baseball so much?
It could be because our hearts are made for it…or at least something like it.
Something that brings together people of all colors and cultures and puts them on a level playing field…
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28 ESV).
Something that gives us reason to stand up and cheer…
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV).
Something that makes us want to share hot dogs and peanuts and Cracker Jack with the guy sitting next to us in the stands…
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-27 ESV).
And something that gives us great hope…
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).
The same hearts that soar after the game-winning run are the hearts that were made to praise and glorify God forever.
And because of the good news of Jesus Christ…they can.