In Section 211 of Ted Turner Field yesterday afternoon, I witnessed along with six pastor friends of mine, and some 21,000 other fans the best baseball game I have ever seen. It was a beautiful spring day for baseball with temperatures in the mid-80’s. Our seats were in the shade about 50 rows or so behind the Braves dugout. The game did not begin well for the home town team as the visiting Reds went up on the Braves 8-0 after just two innings. As the game went along we enjoyed the atmosphere to talk and catch up with one another as we had all taken the day off. Meanwhile, the game was moving along but it did not look very promising as the bottom of the ninth inning began with the Braves behind 9-3. Then the seemingly impossible happened. The Braves scored several runs and the Reds made several errors allowing the Braves to load the bases and close the gap to 9-6 with yet another Reds pitcher sent in to try and close out the game. Then pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad came to the plate and hit an opposite-field ball high and deep to the left field wall. At first, it appeared to us from the distance and to Conrad the ball had been caught, but in just a moment we all came to the same realization. Conrad had hit his first walk-off grand slam of his major league career and the Braves had won an improbable game that few would have thought they had a chance to win. We joined the crowd in high-fiving, shouting, and yelling with everyone in the stadium along with the players on the field who seemed equally shocked and surprised.
I have thought about that game now for 24 hours- and one thing stands out in my mind as I relate that scene to the church today. It seems we keep score in a similar way: attendance, budget, baptisms and the like. Members and ministers alike can have highs and lows based on watching the scoreboard. Morale can suffer in the church when we get behind on the budget or a church family leaves or attendance is off. Maybe we need to just play the game. And let God keep the score. After all we are on the winning team!