A Message for You, April 30, 2009

Spring brings new beginnings, new life

by DR. MICHAEL CONKLIN

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

Spring is a time of wonder for me, and every year I anticipate its coming with a real sense of the coming joy. It isn’t that everything begins to turn both green and the rich colors of spring flowers, though that is certainly a delightful thing. It isn’t that the soil, frozen and icy through the winter months, becomes soft and fertile, ready for the gardener’s touch. The truth is I am an appalling gardener who is so much better at killing plants than helping them to flourish. It isn’t even that we get to celebrate the great feast of Easter with its promise of resurrected life for all. Though that warms a pastor’s heart, and is a deep joy, there is something else in the spring that lifts my soul and gives my heart a sense of delight.

Spring, April in particular, is the beginning of baseball season. I love baseball, even though throughout my youth I was not a very good player, did some of my growing up in a town without Little League, and was always the last one picked when we chose sides. I credit my love of the game of baseball to my grandmother, who was a first-class baseball fan. She had shaken hands with Ty Cobb and Hank Greenburg, and had attended at least some of every World Series the Tigers had been in prior to the 1968 Series.

She taught my to love the game by taking me to local baseball games in Battle Creek, telling me where to sit for the best view, what to watch for as the game progressed, and how to keep score on a scorecard. She literally passed her love of the game on to me by teaching me to pay attention to what is important, and demonstrating what it looks like and feels like to truly love the game.

It has occurred to me that this is exactly how my parents taught me to be a person of faith. They sat with me in church, taught me how to behave, what to look and listen for, even how to sing the hymns. I still remember the day that my father told me how to follow the hymns in the hymnal and what a revelation that was to me. It also occurs to me that my parents weren’t the only ones who guided my way in faith, that there were patient teachers, challenging pastors and faithful followers of Christ who showed so many different ways of living faithfully that my life and my faith was profoundly enriched.

So, here it is-a new spring, a new beginning, new life emerging. What a good time for us to remember those who taught us where to look for God, and what it means to live as a child of God.

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