Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Blue Jays and the Ordo Salutis

            My wife says my blog posts are good but too complicated. She says maybe I should write about the Blue Jays rather than the ordo salutis. The trouble is, the Blue Jays have been awful this year. Everyone in Toronto (well, except those who have moved here from New England and especially New York) had high hopes for the Jays this year. Last winter we brought MVP Dickey and Johnson and Cabrera and Reyes and Buehrle to town. Tragically, since then, the Jays have never clicked. Injuries have been rife and they are mired in last place.

            This year’s anguish reminds me of happier times. I remember going to a Jays game back when they were World Series contenders nearly every year. Once, in particular, I took my son David to his first ever game in what we then called the “Skydome.” Our seats were cheap blues on the very top row. If I reached up, I could almost touch the tracks the dome ran on.

            If I looked down, though, I could only barely see the baseball game. It was going on ten stories below. The players looked about a quarter inch tall. Then only way I could see what the Blue Jays were doing was by watching replays on the three-story high jumbotron television scoreboard.

            It was even worse for little David. Being all of four years old, David didn't even know what to look for. So he sat there wondering what all the fuss was about, for 14 innings, past midnight, before the Jays finally beat the Tigers.

            If baseball, the main event, was all the Skydome had to offer my David our visit would have been a disaster. Fortunately, though, there were other things that kept David happy. There was an uncle and two cousins to play with. There was a washroom with one hundred shiny-white fixtures lined up against the wall. I’ll never forget the way David gasped when he walked in there the first time! David went back for four replays. Best of all, there was a hotdog, candy, ice cream and coke.

            In fact, David was so distracted by the things close at hand, that it didn't bother him one bit that he missed out on the main event.

            Which is a life temptation for all of us. How often aren't we so distracted by the baubles and bright lights, the celebrities and Angry Birds, ESPN and the rat race—how many of us are so distracted by everything going on in the periphery of our lives that we miss out on the main event?

            What might that be? Well, I suppose different people will offer different variations of this answer. But from my perspective, the best way of putting it is that main event in life is my calling, my mission, my passion to be an ambassador of reconciliation.

            The Apostle Paul uses this striking phrase in 2 Corinthians 5 to describe what Christians are all about. We're “ambassadors for Christ,” in order to let the world know that God is reconciling the world to himself—making all things new. Christians are people who contribute to that newness (by their love) and signal that newness (by their love) in whatever they do. We are ambassadors of reconciliation.

            Now, being an ambassador is a big deal. I suppose that in all of Canada or the United States there are only two or three hundred people who are ambassadors. Few get the call. Caroline Kennedy is going to Japan. Ken Taylor of Argo fame was an ambassador who smuggled Americans out of Iran. Bush One was an ambassador to China.

            But if being an ambassador for Obama or Harper seems like a big deal, just think of how much more it is to be an ambassador for the God of heaven’s star fields and earth’s beauty and grandeur. An ambassador who has one, key, central message from the God who posts us: “love one another, as I have loved you.” A message of reconciliation.

            For me, that’s the main event. When I keep that part of my life front and centre there are no wasted summers or disappointing seasons. And distractions are just that—brief (though often pleasant and relaxing) moments away from the one, central task that gives everything else meaning and joy.

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