And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9 NIV)
Tonight is the Major League All-Star game. Professional baseball’s all-star game has always been my favorite among all the major sports of our country.
In recent years, Major League baseball teams have begun to analyze everything. More than just pitching and hitting, Major League teams analyze such complicated aspects as the speed with which a ball leaves a bat, launch angles of batted balls, and the number of revolutions a pitched ball makes from the hand of the pitcher to the batter. For those of you overwhelmed with that information, let me simplify. This is not your grandfather’s or even father’s game anymore.
I recently read how last year’s World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, took this idea of analytics to a matter beyond baseball skill. The Astros management followed the analysis of a couple of psychologists who researched the demographic make-up of every Major League team. They concluded that the best records belonged to those teams that were most demographically diverse in terms of such factors as age, ethnicity, and even pay range. The researchers observed that this factor was especially true if the team had at least one player who could help the team navigate this diversity. The Astros specifically targeted veteran free agent Carlos Beltran to be their guy. The championship proved their thesis correct.
The Apostle Paul declared centuries ago, with his analogy of the church being like the body, (See Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12) what the Astros and others spent countless hours and untold dollars concluding. God has declared that the church is at our best when we are able to see the value of our many parts.
As we think about our different churches, let me remind us of three steps to take.
- Pray for greater diversity of the church.
- Pray for the ability to establish great unity within this diversity.
- Celebrate the diversity within the church.
After all, not only are we stronger when we are diverse, the Bible is clear in presenting a picture of a diverse people worshipping eternally around the throne of God.