The great Jewish theologian, Martin Buber, observed that our spiritual natures have two pockets. When we reach into one pocket we pull out smallness. As the writer of the 8th Psalm states: “What is man that thou are mindful of him?”
When we reach into the other pocket, we pull out greatness. As the writer of the 8th Psalm also declares, “Thou hast made him a little lower than God.”
Two pockets. We are both saint and sinner. We each have two pockets. It’s the season of Lent and a time of self-reflection. By the way, I don’t think I can fully appreciate Easter until I have gone through a season of Lent.
The season of Lent means spring is in the air and baseball season is upon us.
Like many of my generation, I grew up collecting baseball cards. I had a few Mickey Mantles and Whitey Fords, among others. I’m sure that years ago mom sold them all for a quarter in a garage sale. What a shame.
Well Jim Shanley, a business man from Florida, has come up with a new product line, trading cards of Christian saints, called “Holy Traders.” He says he is not trying to make money but he wants to teach children about the heroes of the faith. The complete set of cards, without the bubble-gum, will include all the big name saints, including Saint Valentine and Saint Frances of Assisi. (I assume it won’t include any of the Houston Astros involved in the recent cheating scandal.)
I have a little problem with Jim’s idea. The true saints that I have known didn’t always have a high batting average, in fact they struck out on many an occasion. Some of them didn’t even keep score, and they weren’t as concerned with winning as they were in making sure that everyone got to play. The true saints that I have known would be embarrassed that their lives are being held up as examples, and they would have never flaunted their Christianity before the public. The true Saints that I have known would have avoided All-Star teams and any other award that set them apart from others. All the saints that I have known made plenty of errors. Every saint that I have known had two pockets on their baseball pants.
Yes, we are both saint and sinner.
As sinners we may not be able to change our world, but as saints we may be able to change our communities.
As sinners we may not be able to change our communities, but as saints we may be able to change our neighborhoods.
As sinners we may not be able to change our neighborhoods, but as saints we may be able to change our homes.
As sinners we may not be able to change our homes, but as saints we may be able to change ourselves.
And as sinners we may not be able to change ourselves, but as saints we may be able to offer ourselves up to the grace of God and let him change our world.
Major League players are reporting for spring ball in anticipation of another season-those who hope to be Hall of Famers one day and those just trying to make a team. Some will have great seasons, others not so much. Some will be heroes one day and goats the next. That’s baseball and that’s life. Two pockets: saints and sinners all of us.
Dr. Steve Davis