We and our
It is only February, but already baseball season is right around the corner. Every spring I long for the smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the ball hitting the glove, the crack of the bat.
Most of us, though, still have to wait for all of that. For now, the baseball newsfeeds are filled with trade talks. I’m a big Colorado Rockies fan, so when I heard last month that the Rockies were considering trading Nolan Arenado, I had to investigate. “Good” doesn’t even begin to describe Arenado as a player. In each of his seven seasons in the Major Leagues, he has been named the best defensive third baseman in the National League. In four of them he has also been named the best offensive third baseman. Some say he is the best third baseman of all time. In any case, he is very good.
In the midst of my investigations, I found an interview of Nolan in which he speaks of wanting to “help this team win,” despite some of the conflict that has ensued between him and the Rockies front office over the past month or two. It sounds nice, like an attempt to smooth over or brush aside any hard feelings. But something about that phrase, “help this team win,” stuck with me. During the interview, Nolan spoke of himself winning; he spoke of “this team” winning; but he never used the phrase “my team,” let alone the pronoun, “we.”
This Sunday, our first graders will learn about the Lord’s Prayer together for their first-grade milestone. I don’t want to pick on Nolan too much, but it strikes me as I consider the Lord’s prayer that Jesus’ words encourage a particular way of understanding what it means to be a part of God’s people. With those two little words, “Our Father,” God invites us always to consider ourselves not as individuals doing things for the church or getting something from the church, but as members of the body of Christ, siblings of Jesus and of one another. “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27) Our identity in Christ is a collective one, shaped in and by community. God invites us to say “we” and “our” when describing our life and mission together, because in Jesus God has done the same. “Our Father,” Jesus teaches, loving us enough to include himself in the “we.”