Notes from Jan

Hall of Famers

July 27, 2022

While the Red Sox fought for the bottom of the division, Big Papa entered the baseball Hall of Fame. On a beastly hot day, thousands travelled to Cooperstown to see one of theirs, a son of the Dominican Republic and a Red Sox lifer make it to the top of his profession. I cheered from home.

David Ortiz, aka Big Papi, connects with people. His kind and all kinds of folks, including “the enemy”, like the NYYankees. I like that about him. He also thanked God for the gifts given to him. It’s interesting, that sport seems to be one of the places where folks thank God, without getting laughed out of the room or off the field.

Having written the above, you may think I’m all for swirling together Church and State. Bring on prayer before classes in public schools and applaud public school football coaches who get their team to kneel with them and pray. While there are far worse things for a coach to do, I am skeptical of what can smack of religiosity. But add, only God knows the heart. Yet, I can’t help but wonder, have we made some rights more equal than others?

So what’s the point of these ramblings? Well, Sunday reminded me to look again at God’s Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 versus the Hall of Fame. The contrast is stunning. The Bible lists some names but most remain unnamed. No bronze plaques for them. Just one stat matters: Faithfulness.

And, in a culture that values appearance and winning, faithfulness, like kindness, looks more like losing. Faithfulness commits to do what is best when no one’s looking or when consequences could kill more than a career. Faithfulness is in for the long haul, focuses on the end goal. Finishing.

Both Halls remind me of a story I heard about a retired missionary, returning to the USA after many years in a little known place, caring for people God loved but most didn’t know existed. The ship weighed anchor in New York harbor as bands played, crowds cheered, WELCOME HOME signs fluttered like confetti in the wind. First Class and elite passengers disembarked first, then on down the line. By the time the missionary came up from steerage class, little remained of crowds or confetti. No signs welcomed him. Making his way slowly down the gangplank, he felt forgotten, alone, until he sensed God whisper, “You’re not home, yet.”

Schmaltzy? To some, perhaps. But true. We’re not home…yet. So we keep running, cheering on each other. Enduring the unedurable for no earthly reason or treasure. Our prize? Hearing, “Well done, good and faithful one.”


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  • Reply Dale Lefever July 27, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    Small things done for a “big” Jesus is our calling. I would like to tell you all the wonderful things I have done today in the name of Jesus but space, time and sanity do not allow. I might not know the names of all those mentioned in Hebrews but I know which section I prefer! Thanks for your faithfulness to promoting ours. AND, if you have some prayer time, please lift up the Detroit Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings and Lions. A small task for our big God. 🙂 Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 28, 2022 at 3:46 pm

      Hah! I try not to pray for miracles when it comes to teams I cheer for though I’ve begged more than once for a ball to get lost in the sun, or a kick to go wide of the goalpost. Oh, and for an umpire or ref to get glasses. Silly, I know. Well, sports have a place, as well as pitfalls. Someday, it won’t matter which team we cheered for but it will matter which Hall we end up in. Lord, have mercy. And I’m not talking about the Red Sox. Like the old song says, “It’s me, O Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer.”

  • Reply David L Smith July 27, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    I caught one typo…. it’s properly spelled, “Yukkees”

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 28, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      CAUGHT like too many balls haven’t been in recent games! Thanks, David for adding a laugh to what’s no longer funny in this strange season. You live in New England so you know how much the mood of Red Sox Nation rises and falls with their success or lack thereof.
      Oh well, as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s great baseball book reminds us, WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR. It’s about the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team my Norwegian Brooklyn family cheered for. But not after they were sold and moved across country. “Da Bums!”

  • Reply Evie Karlsson July 28, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    Beautifully said, my friend! Our Moms are finally Home, and that deserves to be celebrated.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 28, 2022 at 3:59 pm

      Yes, dear Evie. They lived FAITHFUL lives and are enjoying the company of others who maybe never saw confetti fly, nor signs of welcome on this earth. But now they’re HOME and probably enjoying afternoon coffee together while choirs of heaven rehearse for THE day.

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