2015-06-23 - Almost Perfect
In Major League Baseball, the definition of a perfect game is as follows:
An official perfect game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) retires each batter on the opposing team during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. (Major League Baseball Official Info, mlb.com).
On June 20, 2015, Washington Nationals Pitcher Max Scherzer pitched a no-hitter. The game was down to the last few minutes. He had gotten two strikes on the batter, and was only one strike away from pitching a "perfect game." But alas, it was not to be. On that third pitch of the at-bat, Scherzer hit the batter. However, the baserunner never scored, and Scherzer was able to finish the game with a "no-hitter," meaning that none of the Pittsburg Pirates' batters (the opposing team) had gotten a hit.
It is an amazing feat to pitch a no-hitter, but the inability to achieve a perfect game, was naturally a disappointment - to the pitcher, to fans and announcers, and even to some fans of the other team. One of the announcers said sadly, "Scherzer was almost perfect." Even though he was just "almost perfect," his teammates were proud, the fans were proud, and they jubilantly celebrated his no-hitter. They focused on the good, and not what he was unable to accomplish; they emphasised what did work, instead of dwelling on a so-called "failure."
Wouldn't it be nice, if we did that in the church? Instead of focusing on the so-called faults of the pastor - such "he talks too long," "she doesn't talk long enough," "he talks over our heads," "he talks down to us," and even "his hands are too soft!". Etc. These are actual complaints I have heard through the years. What if we looked for and affirmed the pastor for good qualities, like humility, working hard on sermons, the lack of use thinly-veiled church members as examples, strong support during crises, etc.?
What if - instead of expecting perfection, and instead of lambasting or gossiping about a fellow church family member's sinful lapse - what if we told the alcoholic that we are proud of him for going to a support group? What if we tell the unwed mother we are thankful she chose single parenting over abortion - and then offer to occasionally babysit? What if we go to the person who lost their temper, and tell him or her that you understand their frustration and will pray with them, and provide a listening ear, if it will help? For that matter, what if we also related to our family and co-workers that way, as well?
What if we, the church, behaved more like Major League Teams do in an "almost perfect" game? Their supportive friendship is something worth emulating.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.