E-pistle October 22

Life is Not a Best of Seven Series
 
I have not yet left North Carolina where I have been on a week of study leave, but I can already sense the tension in the air. It will be the conversation among strangers waiting for our flight to Philadelphia and we are sure to see a red tinge over the city as we make our final approach to PHL.
 
Last night’s game was nothing if not exciting. And Wednesday’s game certainly the same with a less satisfying outcome. Facing elimination, the Phillies now bring the game back home. But two in a row against a team whose bats have suddenly come alive? Anxiety in the air.
 
Baseball is a great game and never better than in October.
 
October baseball is all about earning the right to play another game. Just one more game. And then maybe, just maybe, another seven.
 
There are lots of metaphors for the Christian life – journey, race, the good fight, putting on the wardrobe of the new self, returning to the joyful embrace of the waiting father. But one thing the Christian life is not is a seven games series with the season hanging in the balance.
 
The writer of the book of Hebrews likes the phrase “once for all” (7:27, 9:12, 9:26, 10:10). And that once for all took place at the Cross and by it we are assured that God’s “yes” to us is final. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans (8:37).
 
Yes, there will be anxiety in the air as I return to Philadelphia. A wonderfully exciting anxiety. Go Phillies!
 
Paul told the Philippians that the need not be anxious about anything (4:6). The Christian life is many things – a wild adventure – but it is not a best of seven series. The victory is already won. Thanks be to God!