We’ve had a very low-key Easter Monday at my house, with our 12-year-old, Mr. Dimples, in the middle of what is a terribly-scheduled Spring Break for a clergy family. The weather was beautiful, full-gloried springtime. We’ve been out with the dog numerous times, admiring the crabapple trees and the tulips in the neighborhood, and I sat on a bench for a while at the park, watching kathrynzj pitch to Mr. D.
Now it’s evening, and the baseball noise floating from my living room emanates from the PlayStation 4, which is startlingly realistic. The crack of the bat sounds almost exactly right. When it comes around every year, in a real game, it’s as much a sign of new life as the daffodils.
On Easter Sunday, later in the day, we watched our favorite team, the Nationals, play the Phillies. When our hero, Bryce Harper (I mean, we named our cat after him), came up in the bottom of the 9th, the Nats trailed 4-3, with two men on base and 2 outs.
He worked the pitcher to a 3-2 count. This is basically the point of baseball, to make you swing so hard between despair and hope that you declare you will give it up forever…
Then, “kkraakk!” sang his bat! (Click here if that’s your thing.)
He stood and admired the ball as it sailed away. It’s bad form, but who could blame him?
When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. (Luke 24:28-31, CEB)
It may seem sacreligious to compare Cleopas and his companion, let’s say Mrs. Cleopas, to baseball fans, but we are so far from their moment that it’s hard to capture their emotions in a palpable way. We read up on how far it really was to Emmaus, and ponder whether it’s a metaphorical destination. Buechner has described it (paraphrasing here) as a place representing our lowest moments, but even that feels detached to me. How can we get out of our heads and feel that swing between hope and despair?
Jesus worked Mr. and Mrs. C like an excellent batter works a pitcher, stretching it as far as he possibly could.
Then, “kkraakk!” sang his bat!
And in the fleeting moment before he disappeared, I feel sure he admired his handiwork.
Dear Jesus, dear Jesus, I love the way you work. Keep working on me. Amen.
I read and blogged about Luke as my Lenten discipline in 2017, and this is the last post in the series. The full list of posts can be found here.