The month of April is finally here, with the signs and smells of spring in the air. The start of the baseball season was always tangible proof that the frosty and icy grip that winter held over Ohio was beginning to wane. Although I can recall cheering on the Indians on opening day and having to wear layers of clothing and a winter coat. The phrase, “Stay five minutes and the weather will change,” could definitely have originated in Ohio. April was always the month that I looked forward to because of The Masters, which is the first Major golf championship tournament held every year over the second weekend in April. Watching the beautiful trees and flowers in Georgia was a welcome sight considering I usually had not been able to golf yet. My father and I would be sure to block out our Sunday afternoon during the last round of the Masters to see who would win the coveted green jacket. Truth be told I would rather play golf than watch golf, but watching these amazing golfers challenge themselves and each other was always must-see TV. However, CBS was only allowed in those days to show the back nine, or the last nine holes of the golf course. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I even knew what the first nine holes looked like! The public was always told that as a private golf club and course, it was their belief that the last nine holes were the best and most beautiful so only those holes were worthy enough to be shown on TV. It felt as if I was only able to see half of a work of art, or listen to a portion of a musical composition, or heaven forbid, eat only half of my favorite dessert! Today one can follow along with the players on every hole, watch particular groups of golfers, or watch one particular hole played by every golfer in the field.
This led me to some observations concerning faith. I have no personal empirical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, yet by this event happening the world was redeemed, restored, and saved. As the scores were posted by the golfers during their play on the front nine, I could not prove that they were accurate, but I still had to trust that others had observed and could verify their scores. Without the passing down of the witness of the resurrection throughout the generations combined with the written testimony and witness of the Bible passed down as a gift from the community of believers called the church, trust in the seemingly absurd and impossible resurrection would be pointless. “Faith comes from what is heard,” and the phrase “we walk by faith and not by sight come to mind.” Along with the famous verse from Hebrews which states “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” When I compare my viewing experience of the Masters with only the back nine, or the whole eighteen holes available, I enjoy watching all of the holes because it gives a richer narrative and picture of the tournament as a whole. Only God is able to perceive everything, yet the glimpses and signs that we see in scripture, in the life , death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in our lives today which point to the new reality of becoming a new creation in Jesus Christ compel us through the Holy Spirit to participate in God’s mission and ministry in the world. Share the Gospel, love our God, love your neighbor, forgive one another, live out the gift of faith that God so graciously has given you.
Living in God’s amazing grace,
Pastor Matthew Groenke