Will we notice?
A few weeks ago, as Major League Baseball spring training was well underway, this picture was shared widely on social media:
The photo was taken by a reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, at a Houston Astros minor league baseball game. What you can tell from the photograph is that the man on the left is wearing a jersey of the incredibly talented, Hall of Fame Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan. What might not be obvious, though, is that the man sitting on the right is, in fact, Nolan Ryan himself.
Ryan now works as a special assistant to the Astros and happened to be at the sparsely filled stadium to do some scouting and consulting work. Throughout the game, according to the reporter, it appeared as though the person on the left had no idea he was sitting next the popular baseball star. No conversation or interaction. No acknowledgement that the man had any clue he was sitting next to someone he clearly admired.
We can assume it was a missed connection of sorts. Perhaps he didn’t recognize Ryan outside the context of a pitcher’s mound. Maybe he was too focused on the game to notice anyone in particular sitting around him. Whatever the circumstances, it was clearly a squandered opportunity to connect with greatness.
In the midst of this Holy Week, remembering the stories of Jesus’ last days, I think about the disciples’ missed connections in their own lives of faith. In the years they spent witnessing Jesus’ ministry, how much did they really grasp that they had a front row seat to the work of God? As they ate a meal together on a Thursday evening, did they have any idea what greatness sat right beside them?
Or what about our own time spent with God? How many squandered opportunities have we missed because of our preoccupation with other surroundings or an inability to notice the work of God right around us?
Holy Week is as good a time as any to slow down and pay attention just enough to notice details we might otherwise miss. The words of love and care spoken around a table, the sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion, the promise of new life & the defeat of death. These are what remind us we have a God who is willing to come close to us, to experience the agony of life and death, and to promise us daily grace and redemption. The gift of a God willing to walk alongside us in our daily lives. The only question is, will we notice?
–Katy Warren, associate pastor