Baseball & Heaven
Baseball has long been my sentimental favorite sport. When our boys were young we spent hours upon hours of our dog days of summer, sitting in lawn chairs along the first-base line. Baseball is a slow game. Methodical. Every pitch, every swing of the bat, every scoop of the glove, a practice of patience, and a test of focus. Baseball tells a story.
Of course, I love a good story. And if you live in Minnesota, and have any inkling of what’s unfolding, you know we’ve waited a good long time for this particular chapter of our long-suffering tale. We have been very, very patient.
Our Twins won the World Series twice in my memory. Once when I was a college sophomore, and again during our second year of marriage. But the last time our home team won a playoff game my firstborn was a nine-year-old still playing coach-pitch. And in all our years of youth championships and high school state runs and college walk-offs our family has remained loyal to a team that has failed—again and again—when it comes to winning A Big One.
And then. Earlier this week, starting on Tuesday—after a tantalizingly hope-filled season—the Anderson collective donned team wearables, fired up our group text, and spent the day sending pics and predictions and nervous chatter. From coast to coast we were a family united by Minnesota love.
And they’ve done it. A two-game sweep to clinch the Wildcard series. And at the exact moment our cross-tattooed closer threw his nasty last pitch I was addressing a group of middle school church kids. Talking about heaven.
Which begs the question. Is there baseball in heaven?
Well, you know what they say about “in the big-inning”—
In the days leading up to the MLB playoffs I had actually given more brain space to thoughts of the kingdom of heaven than baseball… and that’s saying a lot. For some reason I’d been sensing God’s leading in a very specific direction regarding this week’s HopeYouth message. And in hindsight I’m not at all sure my Wednesday night teaching was a WIN—but I am entirely convinced the ball is in the Spirit’s dugout. So to speak.
As I preached I drew pictures in Sharpie of the intersection of earth and heaven. Showing how the two shared space in the actual beginning… how hell entered the story as a sort of invasion… and how heaven came back to stay through the life of Jesus. Not “up there”—but intersecting HERE as an unseen kingdom. A kingdom we can live in today.
“It’s not like we do earth stuff in this life, and heaven stuff someday. It’s more like this life is preparation for forever.” Loving. Serving. Creating. Growing. Healing. Tending. This is the stuff that lasts forever.
A while back I read a magazine article. I wrote about it here. The author suggested that as parents and teachers our primary focus should be preparing kids to “co-rule with God in the new creation.” Our purpose in this life is deeply connected to our eternal calling. We begin here and now, co-ruling with Christ in His forever flourishing kingdom.
And so I circle back. To baseball. Does it matter?
I’m not sure.
Next week I’ll join my firstborn and my husband for a nerve-racking evening at Target Field, watching Game 3 of the next playoff series. We’ll be decked out in our wearables, cheering with the home team, exchanging texts with our baseball-crazed family. Holding out hope for another big inning. And altogether aware (but not admitting) that our Minnesota hopes could be dashed in a moment.
Here in this earth space. Citizens of heaven. Living today (and Tuesday) in an eternal kingdom that always wins.