All Things to All People

Baseball reigns here. I love driving by the ruddy fields that dot the landscape and seeing pickup games going on, the area behind the backstop overflowing with spectators' motos. Handfuls of kids playing catch in the street or using sticks as bats and bottle caps as balls bring me unabashed joy. There's just something about the hopefulness of it: these are the major leaguers of tomorrow.

Given that the sport has so infiltrated the culture, it only makes sense that the Church should meet the culture where it is. I was reminded of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 last Wednesday, as I accompanied Revs. Idjon Fritz and David Preus and seminarians Nefta and Guillermo to the play (baseball field) near the church in Palmar:

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." 

I'm pretty sure baseball practice is a daily drill, but Wednesdays are special in that it ends in the Word. 

We showed up around 5:30 and watched the end of a scrimmage while forecasting Dominican league playoff prospects with the boys on deck. (Side note: I was seriously impressed with the talent I saw on the field; almost every batter made contact, and hard!) At Coach José Anibal's call, everyone gathered by the backstop. Nefta led a song on guitar, and then Pastor Idjon gave a brief homily on the 6th commandment. He's known many of the boys for years, having been the chaplain for the ones who went to the Lutheran school in Palmar. Coach Anibal is a member of the Palmar church and a personal friend of his, too. We all prayed the Lord's Prayer together before the boys walked home in the vanishing daylight. The pastors and students and I did a quick home visit and then headed back to church for Divine Service. 

It was seriously cool to witness this type of grassroots evangelism in action. Missionaries are always encouraged to be involved in church activities like this and I hope to go again. Think Paul would say, "To the Dominicans, I became as a kid dreaming of being discovered by an MLB scout someday"?

Until next time, blessings!