Practicing Forgiveness

September 14, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Proper 19 – RCL Year A
Exodus 14:19-31; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

The other day I was driving by a park and noticed a young girl practicing softball with an older boy. This momentary glance took me back to a time many years ago when I played church-league softball. I was making the transition from T-ball to full-pitch softball, and it wasn’t going very smoothly. I quickly learned that hitting the ball as it moved toward me was harder than I thought.

In practice one day I kept missing the ball, and I was getting pretty frustrated. My older brother, Jimmy, was there. I don’t know if he was “officially” helping out, or whether he was just biding his time, while his sisters had softball practice. In any case, he offered to help me learn how to hit the ball. He had played little league baseball, and in my eyes, was good at anything he did, so why not?

So there I was, standing at the plate, bat in hand, barrel cocked-back over my shoulder as I’d seen all the baseball players do – I was ready for the pitch. Jimmy stood several paces away and gently tossed the softball toward me. I swung… and missed. After doing that a few more times, the result didn’t change, and Jimmy could tell I was about to give up. So, he decided to use a different approach.

614129580_iFqRh-M-1He told me to hold the bat out in front of me, across the plate, and just touch the ball when it came toward me – not to swing at all – just reach the bat out and touch the ball wherever it was as it came across the plate. He then came a little closer and tossed balls toward me. I tapped each one, and got a sense of what it felt like for the bat to make simple contact with the ball. He had taken the swinging-action out of the equation, and gave me something I could actually accomplish. It was encouraging! Read the rest of this entry »

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