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Monday, October 19, 2020

If Christ Has Not Been Raised

 The Dodgers made the World Series last night. My father loved the Dodgers. The last time they won the whole thing in 1988, my father was still here. The Dodgers are not my favorite team, but nevertheless, I am unable to be objective in any sense about the Dodgers.

I have a recording of Vin Scully leading others in "the prayers" (let the reader understand) and I thought it would be nice to say them myself along with him, and whomever was in that group. As it went along, I had greater and greater difficulty controlling my emotions. The heart of the Christian story is resurrection, and our hope of resurrection with Christ in glory. In my mind, I actually had a brief conversation with Tommy Lasorda. I heard him only half jokingly say once that God was a Dodgers fan, and it's pretty difficult to get into heaven if you're not. And I heard myself say, "Well, they're not my favorite, but they are special to me. And Dad was still here when you won it the last time."

All the judgments of God are just and righteous altogether, and so I leave them to Him. Yet to look my father in the eyes again in the new heavens and the new earth is a powerful desire. As much as I love the game of baseball, the innings and the games fade from my memory almost as quickly as they come. If you meet someone who says they love baseball, they might be trying to tell you much more than their appreciation for the spin of a curveball, or a player's precise baserunning, as he lines a double into one of the gaps. This is a game that serves as a backdrop for conversation, connection, and solidarity. I've had some of the best conversations of my life with people at baseball games, or sitting around a TV as we watched a baseball game. We're talking about love. In the end, all hope of love and connection relies on the resurrection from the dead. Everything good is a little echo of the life we are meant for.

Many Christians waste their time arguing about the nature of hell, but one thing cannot be underestimated: the meaning and the extent of any metaphysical place where no love of any kind is present. Truly, I have no fear of anything except this. This is why hope is so powerful, because hope tends toward everything that is good, and hope desires it for oneself. Whatever you can do to avoid losing hope, you should do it.

If we are honest, sometimes heaven is hard to imagine. Sometimes harder still is to break the power of earthly pleasures, especially in relation to loving God. But at this moment, I fix my mind on the fundamental goodness of so many things in the world, and I realize that the fulfillment of all desire is in God. Everything my father wanted, whether he knew it or not, is in God. Everything that I want, even if in a moment I should be confused, is in God. That's something to get you out of bed each morning.

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