Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Did that just happen?


Something I have wondered for a long time is how do you measure faith? Jesus describes faith in terms of a mustard seed (Matt 17:20 and Luke 17:6) which leads me to think of faith in terms of attainment. I figure it's good to have faith the size of a mustard seed but faith the size of a squash or bean seed is so much more effective and powerful. I don't have any conclusions but I'm pretty sure that is wrong.

Here is how this plays out in real life for me. On Saturday night I went to the Pittsburgh Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals game while on my visits in the East. It was my g-parents family reuinion and all the family got together to go see the hapless Pirates. Our family is really close and the one thing we can all agree on is the Pirates are bad and that we love the Pirates. Despite their patehtic play for the last 15 years we follow them and remain optimistic every year.

This night was no different. At the 8th inning the Pirates were losing 10-4. (They were being outhit as of the 5th inning 17-2!) Then it started to rain. Then the fans started to leave. But my family and I saw an opportunity for fun. The Pittsburgh Steelers are famous for the Terrible Towel that gets waved during the football games. Well at this particular game they were giving away free beach towels. So we began to wave around our beach towels and just start cheering like the Pirates were in the World Series.

Surprise, surprise they put up 2 runs in that inning and all the sudden the score was 10-6. But the comeback ended and we started to gather up our stuff and head to a place shiedled from the rain and close to an exit.

The bottom of the 9th comes around and we are still jovially waving our towels. And it happened. I got this weird feeling after a lead off single that a comback could be in store. The single was folowed by a walk. Than a homerun. 10-9. Than a single. Than a double. Than an infield force out 10-10! Extra innings.

Of course in the 11th the Pirates gave up the lead and now were losing 10-11. But you had this feeling they were going to win. This belief, this mustard seed size of faith they would win. Bottom of the 11th. A lead of single. Than Jason Michaels steps up and cranks a homerun over the fence and the 15,000 fans left went crazy.

We all lost our voices. We stayed up late in the night re-telling the story over and over again. I guess I had a small amount of faith and I don't know if it is comparable to what Jesus is talking about. But I wanted to tell that story. And I want to let you know that as much as I believe in the Pirates comeback ability I believe more in Jesus' comeback ability.

1 comment:

An ol guy! said...

The difference between Jesus and the Pirates however is that I'm afraid that the Bucs may be dead forever! I'm not sure that Tony's words apply: "It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'." When I watch the Pirates I think, "Oh no...It's Friday and we have to watch them play on Saturday and Sunday too!" By the way Mike...this is a great sermon illustration for the resurrection!