I have been a life-long Pittsburgh Pirate fan—since the days of Rosey Rowswell (announcer, 1936-1955), Branch Rickey (General Manager, 1950-1955), and Ralph Kiner (home run slugger, 1946-1953). I yelled myself hoarse when they won The World Series in 1960—sitting in the basement TV room of my college fraternity house.
More recently, I struggled and suffered with the team through 20+ awful seasons—ever hopeful but mostly subdued. I never attended a lot of games. But I watched many on TV or listened on radio. And I still love the team and the tradition.
Last season (2013) the tide finally turned. And this season is equally, if not more exciting. The fans are back. Sellout crowds are common. And while the Pirates may not be “world champions” this year, they are welcome good news for me and countless others. The team spirit, the newer superb outfield, and the hitting are refreshing good news.
On many occasions, I will watch the game (or part of the game) on TV. If they win, I will listen to the wrap-up commentators. Next, I will watch some of the highlights from the game (many of which I saw live!) on my iPad or iPhone. The next day, I will read the summary and commentary about the game in the newspaper. I really enjoy good news!
The news from our God is always good. Father Richard Rohr made this point in a devotional piece just a few weeks ago: “For most of human history God was not a likable, much less lovable, character. That’s why every ‘theophany’ in the Bible (an event where God breaks through into history) begins with the same words, ‘Do not be afraid!’ Why? Because people have always been afraid of God….”
In another similar devotional, Richard Rohr writes, “Jesus was not changing the Father’s mind about us; he was changing our mind about God…”
Someone with more time to count such things than me wrote that the “Do not be afraid” message appears 365 times in the Bible. One for every day of the year!
Is this not what Isaiah believed when he wrote, “Get you up to a high mountain…lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, do not fear, say….’Here is your God’” (Isaiah 40:9)
Or the words of the hymn writer, Laura Coppenhaver, “Heralds of Christ who bear the Kings commands, immortal tidings in your mortal hands.” (UMH, #406).
Christian leadership means a steady focus on the ever good news. Always hopeful, always encouraging. May the balance of this summer season bring you refreshment in that good news—without fear, without hesitation, and never subdued.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014