Thursday, August 21, 2014
Prophet, Priest and ... Pitcher?
It's autumn, 2013 A+D at Boston's storied Fenway Park. The Red Sox and the visiting Tigers are battling in the second game of the AL Championship series. Jeff Seidel, sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press, rapturously sets the table for us:
"It wasn't just that Scherzer was striking out the Red Sox.
It was how he was doing it.
He struck out Will Middlebrooks with a slider that left the third baseman all twisted around, like he had been screwed into the ground.
Scherzer struck out Dustin Pedroia and Pedroia had such a funky swing he dropped to his knee. As if kneeling before Scherzer.
Which seemed fitting and appropriate.
Scherzer was the king of the night, standing on his throne."
I have no firm idea as to where Mr. Seidel's salvific confidence lies, for his eternal bliss ... but he certainly possesses the meet, right and salutary idea as to the appropriate treatment of a king.
If Lutherans truly believed that the ascended Lord Jesus Christ 1.) is exceedingly gracious, and 2.) does not abandon His gathered sheep, as the "... there I WILL BE" promise of presence declares ... there would be far more dropping to the knee (i.e., genuflecting and the like) before the King of the ages, in the Divine Service of all Lutheran congregations.
Even the scribblers chained to the baseball-beat seem to intuitively grasp this wisdom.
And it's not a matter of "High Church" ritualism, per se -- rather, it's a matter of simple etiquette, and a directed fear and love, towards God who is on the mound ... there on the consecrated Altar if you will ... and is really and truly present within the Lutheran midst. A Lutheran tongue can honestly confess and joyously proclaim, together with old Simeon, that Lutheran eyes have seen his salvation.
So maybe the rest of the Lutheran flesh, should act like it.
On the other hand, if in the depths of his or her heart (or the brain's motor cortex), the "Lutheran" is convinced that because of a divinely-uncommunicated humanity, the great King 1.) is confined to a celestial box (like some sort of incompetent heavenly Houdini of Calvinist design); or 2.) is taking a royal nap, or a much-needed distant vacation like the Canaanite Ba'al, so that we have to scream ever louder in order to rouse Him (in the course of artfully cutting our throats with a northern chain-saw, say; or maybe not); or 3.) is best approached by a Wesleyan "spiritual ascent," through means of vigorously thrusting our gravity-defying fists into the air ... a feat giving evidence to others and self, that our devotional fervency matches that of the squealing, center-staged Fenders of the rockers; or maybe by the swirlingly diaphonous liturgical belly-dances inside God's house, so as to better capture the attention of the snoring and grounded men-folk, if not that of His own distanced awareness ... well then, we are a people to be most pitied. As a confessing entity, through such tolerated actions, we are sending a message that we're all twisted around, like as if we've been screwed into the ground.
And as Max Scherzer "preached" in Boston, it's all because of those sneaky sliders. Or the purpose-driven screwballs. In print, at least, Mr. Seidel appears to heartily agree.
The game is nearing its end, things are reaching a climax, and the King of all deserves better, lots better from His fearing, loving, and loyal subjects. Note the Present tense.
Posted by Michael L. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D at 9:14 AM