Of Bullpens and Baptisms

I have to admit this past baseball season has sucked me in like no other since I was a kid. The constant state of flux and change I am in the midst of, I think, has something to do with it. I remember the words of James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams, when he called baseball a constant. And that is what is so sweet about the game- it just keeps going on. At either seven at night or one in the afternoon, the San Francisco ball club takes the field and I tune in. Whatever else is in a state of flux, baseball is a constant.
 
And yesterday in church, if I can be honest with you, dear anonymous reader, I was thinking about, of all things, my beloved Giants and their bullpen. Every team has a collection of relievers that will pitch anywhere from the sixth through the eighth inning of a game, with one flame-thrower ready to get the last three outs of the game. The constant at the back of the bullpen has been the zany and wildly effective closer named Brian Wilson. His impending presence at the end of the game is not only a sign of comfort for the rest of the bullpenners, but it defines their roles. Each man knows his situation, and readies his mind to get the job done, if only for one or two hitters every game. But this year has been different. Brian Wilson is out for the year, and the Giants have not found an adequate replacement. As a result, each reliever has lost definition to his respective role. The bullpen, you might say, is in a state of flux.
 
The reason I was thinking about this in church yesterday was that I feel this lack of definition for the first time in my life as I enter the sanctuary. I always used to have a role and I knew what to do. I knew how to act. I knew who to greet, what to do, and what to say. I always felt like I had a defined role, until this past year.
 
And I am tempted to say that I should not feel this way because Jesus is the great closer up in the sky who takes the ball in the ninth inning of my life. I am tempted to explain away the tension that I feel being amongst people I am used to leading. But I want to go a different direction today because I have a suspicion that I am not alone. I wonder if anybody else wonders what their role is amongst the people of God.
 
Living in a state of flux is a dangerous place, but I am starting to learn that my definition does not rely on what I bring to the table. My definition does not rely on my comfort level on Sunday mornings, nor does it rely on how settled life is or is not. Each of us are here, not by accident, but by the providence of God. He has a plan he is working out, and right now that puts me in a state of flux and I am faced with the decision to embrace his plan or work on my own.
 
But then I stopped daydreaming long enough to hear what the pastor was saying in his sermon. He was preaching on the baptism of Jesus, and those familiar words accompanied by a dove hit me with a new force. This is my beloved son, with whom I am well-pleased. And I heard the pastor say this is where the story goes from good to awesome. And he was right.
 
It goes from good to awesome because the voice of the Father speaks to his adopted sons as much as it spoke to Jesus. I am beloved in Christ. I am well-pleasing in the sight of my Father. I am embraced and anointed by his Spirit because of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. My role may be in a state of flux but my identity remains the same.
 
God is for me.

2 thoughts on “Of Bullpens and Baptisms

  1. I stumbled on your blog after reading your post on Relevant and this post spoke directly to my heart! Having identity in Christ is one thing, but embracing the ebb and flow of change within the Body is another. Thank you for your post! You are a gifted writer!

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