My favorite sport is baseball. I grew up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and I played on a Little League team for two years. I was a better basketball player, than I was a baseball player, but I loved the game and my Dodgers. So from time to time, I will read a book about baseball or about a particular player. I especially like reading about the players I knew in my childhood as I relate to them more than I do with many of the current players. One book I like to browse through from time to time is What Time Is It? You Mean Now? The book is written by Yogi Berra, former player and manager.
If you know anything about Yogi Berra, you know that he utters some of the funniest thoughts, but also some of the most profound thoughts. I was reading this week about his youth and growing up on city streets, playing ball from sunup to sundown in vacant lots with “no umpires, no uniforms, no rules, we’d just play.” He says that they played because it was fun, something I do not know kids really appreciate today. But what really struck me was something else he wrote: “As kids we had fun and we knew right from wrong because we went to church a lot, which is what you did on the Hill?” [italics mine]
I wonder about this statement a little. First, I think it is good that children go to church, and I do believe that they can learn about what God requires of us, which is different that what the world requires of us. But what saddens me is that in order to know right and wrong one has to go to church rather than learn from people acting in godly way in their homes, at their jobs, in the stores, on the streets. Am I making sense? What I am trying to say is why don’t we take church – that is being the people of God – to our homes, to our jobs, to the stores, to the streets, so our children will learn about being people of God wherever they might be.
Another way to say this might be from the Apostle Paul in Colossians: “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and if, anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let he peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12-17, NRSV)