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20th Sunday after Pentecost - October 23, 2022

This morning we are in the second week of a three week series called One bread. One cup. One love. Asking the question, in a culture divided, fragmented, being asked to draw lines in the sand and move to a radical right or a radical left – what if we’re being called to the radical center? What might that look like? What language, images, symbols can we gather around and draw sustenance from? One bread. One cup. One love. Last Sunday we looked at bread…specifically the story from Luke’s Gospel of the feeding of the five thousand – the radically centered church proclaims the shared world. This morning we’re looking at a cup…

A couple of years back, an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen since high school – but we grew up together – posted a photo on Facebook of our Little League baseball team – same team, same players, all 6 six years of elementary school. And along with the photo he posted these words, “The losingest little league team in White Rock Dallas’ YMCA history.”

And we were. We were called the T-birds. Not the “Thunderbirds” – that would’ve been cool. No…it just had “T dash Birds” on our jerseys, no cool symbol, no cool font. Other teams were called the Rangers, or the Braves, the Indians and they would ask us, “What’s a T-bird?” And we’d be like, “I don’t know, please stop asking us that question.” Our coach all six years was Coach Mike. He was a lawyer, wore an earring, had one of those little curly mullets, smoked cigarettes all the time (because in the 80’s the YMCA let coaches smoke around kids), and he always seemed to be going through a divorce. We knew this because he talked about it all the time. Our team huddles before games were not the inspiring motivational speeches, we over-heard from the other teams’ coaches. It was not “Let’s get pumped up time” it was more like “Coach Mike deconstruct the meaning of life and relationships with us time” – “You know guys I know…I know I haven’t been the best coach. I got a lotta stuff going on in my life right now. When you guys grow up be sure to marry someone who’s gonna love you for being you…because life is hard. It’s not going to be what you think its going to be. I used to be like yall. I had dreams once too. But you know…here I am…Anybody have any dreams…?

“Yeah, Coach…I gotta dream we’ll get on base at some point. That’d be awesome.”

We were the most losingest team…indeed. But, that’s where I learned to play the game. I did. And…believe it or not, two of my T-Birds teammates were in our wedding. You know, winning is great. No denying it, right. Success feels good… But…there’s something about losing that teaches you something – it gets at something deeper inside us than winning. Richard Rhor writes, “Success has nothing of spiritual value to teach us after the age of 35.”