Baseball and Faith Formation

On this Reformation Sunday, as we remember the traditions that were passed on to us, I cannot help but remember the first baseball game I ever attended.

It was shortly after Dad had begun his call as Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, in Burlington Iowa. During the summer as a restless 3rd grader, I was offered the chance to attend a Cardinals game in St. Louis. It sounded great.

Oh, said Dad, there is one little catch. We would be going with the Bethany OWLS - the Older Wiser Lutherans.  Oh well, as it happened I had nothing better going on.

We got onto the bus and - being a normal 3rd grader - I was not going to sit next to my Dad. So I sat down next to Lawrence Joy. The whole drive from Burlington to St. Louis, Lawrence and I talked. We sat near each other at the game. We talked on the ride home. I still have the baseball I got at the first baseball game.

After that day, Lawrence and his wife sort of adopted me as extra grandparents. They sat by me in church while Dad was in the pulpit and Mom was in the choir. I would stay at their house when Mom & Dad were out of town. Over the years, Lawrence and Florence would remain exceptionally important in my life. They became mentors.

That day, Lawrence did two things that day which have shaped my path - two things that helped to shape my faith as I grew into it.

  1. He talked to me as if I mattered. He didn't talk down to me, he didn't ignore me. As adults, we often overlook the things and the people below our line of sight. Lawrence looked down, and saw someone worthy of his time and attention. 
  2. He talked to me about his faith. Not because he was trying to witness to me or change me. We talked together about the things that mattered, and Lawrence would talk about his faith. Why he choose to worship every Sunday, why he was a Lutheran, what it meant for him to live his faith every day. 

Too often we miss these opportunities to share what is most important to us. We overlook the young people in our lives, or we are unsure of how to talk about our faith. But unless we share our passion and faith with the next generation, it will end with us.

It can be as simple as a baseball game. One conversation. Listening. Sharing your passions.

Right now, there are people waiting for you. Waiting for your attention. Waiting to hear your story. Waiting to hear about how God's love has touched your life.

Share your story.