Now, concerning what you wrote about the gifts from the Holy Spirit. I want you to know the truth about them, my friends. You know that while you were still heathen, you were led astray in many ways to the worship of lifeless idols. I want you to know that no one who is led by God's Spirit can say “A curse on Jesus!” and no one can confess “Jesus is Lord,” without being guided by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. - 1 Corinthians 12:1-6
In his famous routine comparing Baseball and Football, George Carlin says of baseball,
“In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness. … In baseball, the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!”
Baseball seems more peaceful than football. I think there may be some truth to this.
Recently I went to a baseball game with a friend of mine. I rooted for one team. My friend rooted for another. Even though we rooted for different teams we were united in our love for the game of baseball. It brought us together.
I also noticed we shared many personal experiences about baseball and other sports. Most of these memories touched on family.
For instance, one time I went to a San Francisco Giants game at what is now Oracle Park. On that day the Giants were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. My grandsons are Giants fans so they were wearing Giants garb. I am a Pirates fan, so I was wearing Pittsburgh garb. As we walked to the stadium from the parking garage to the stadium, one grandson quipped, “Opa, you’re embarrassing.” However, when we were in the stadium, I began talking with other Pittsburgh fans. When one Pittsburgh fan bought Italian Ice for my grandsons, suddenly I wasn’t embarrassing anymore. We were all unified by the game. (The jersey I wore had the number 9 designating the number of Bill Mazeroski, a former Pirates player and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame).
I wish Christianity could have a unifying effect like baseball. Yet, so often Christians find themselves so disunified, it hurts the church and the people in the church.
In the passage above, Paul reminds the churches in the ancient city of Corinth that they were united in the same Lord, the same Holy Spirit and the same baptism. They were brought together by Christ. Paul had to remind them because they were fighting over the differences among themselves
How often such division characterize the church, the country and our discourse in these days.
May God open our eyes to what we have in common and share rather than that which divides.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California