September 6, 2022

From the Rector…

Last week Gunnar Henderson was called up to the majors to play baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. At his second at-bat in the majors, he hit a home run. His had hits in six games this past week—not bad for a rookie, especially one that just turned 21 a few weeks ago. Right before his 21st birthday, he hit the “cycle”—a single, double, triple, and homerun all in one game. Gunnar has been on a hot streak to say the least and he has obvious talent—physically and mentally—as he was drafted straight out of high school and is now playing Major League Baseball.

Gunnar is from Selma, my hometown. Though I don’t know him, I know his family. They are from Selma with deep roots there. This past weekend, folks from Selma flew up to Baltimore just to go to Camden Yards and watch Gunnar play ball. Just about the entire City of Selma has become Orioles fans overnight—though I am sure they are also still rooting for the Braves as well—and are keeping up with Gunnar as he begins his career with the MLB. Gunnar has become a hometown hero. But that works both ways.

As we are proud of Gunnar and our thoughts and actions reflect that support of him–regardless of whether people actually know him or not—his actions reflect on us as well. Gunnar carries a weight of responsibility upon him. His job is to play baseball and the way in which he carries that out will be a reflection of his own character, the Orioles, his family, and even Selma. That is a lot for a 21-year-old to deal with. And at the same time, it is exactly what each of us deals with daily—though not at the same level of scrutiny.  

Whatever we do reflects upon ourselves and others. We are not isolated from the world. Instead, we are a part of the world and other people and thus all our actions, beliefs, behaviors, and words either nurture and nourish the world around us or contribute to decline and decay. Gossip, slander, words of anger and frustration directed to those not responsible for that negativity, deceit, accusations, triangulation (talking about someone behind their back) are reflections upon us—not the other—and they do nothing to contribute to a healthy society in which we take joy in God, creation, and our fellow humanity. Instead, we are called to be light bearers—to reflect the light of Christ to all who cross our path. Our presence, our very breath, is the light being breathed out into the world for healing and wholeness.

Gunnar has a lot of responsibility thrust upon someone so young. And so do each of us. Gunnar may represent the Orioles, his family and Selma but, he, like each of us is also a representative of Christ. The way we live, the choices we make, the actions we take, the words we speak, and the thoughts we believe tell others something about Christ. That is a weighty responsibility we bear as Christians because it will lead others toward Christ or away from Christ.

The first time Gunnar stepped up to the plate in Baltimore, he got a standing ovation from the crowd. They welcomed him with joy and appreciation. God does the same for each of us whenever we step up to the plate. We need do nothing but play our game, live into who God has made us to be, and reflect Christ’s light and love into the world.

Light and Life and Go Orioles!