(Orange, Texas)

April 20, 2013

Baseball, Bombs and a Blessing

Dr. Andy Pate Jr.
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — The wife and I were driving through the city last Saturday and saw a group of boys at play on a Little League field.  It looked to be their first try at baseball, properly called T Ball, typically for boys around the ages of five and six. (There’s no pitcher in T Ball. The kid at bat swings at a ball placed atop a flexible T.)

We slowed down long enough to watch the batter hit the ball into the infield, and just stand at home plate for about 20 seconds, then take off on a run to first base.   Quickly there came to my mind my son’s first T ball at bat.  He swung, hit the ball about 10 feet out and ran, straight to third base.

Kids are wonderful!  So innocent.  So eager.  So full of joy when they do something well.  Last Saturday’s sight of those boys making their first attempt at playing America’s pastime excited me, and the uplift held through a beautiful Sunday.

Then came Monday afternoon’s bummer. Two horrific bomb explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, leaving, to date, three dead and more than 170 persons injured

One of the three who died in the Boston tragedy was eight-year old Martin Richard, a third grader.

Some time back Martin hand-created a prayerful request which said “No More Hurting People” on its top line, below which was printed “PEACE.”  The sign has been shown widely on national TV and over the Internet.

Who cannot weep over the senseless, horrific death of such a caring child?  Only the most hardened of heart and soul!

Like other insensitive adults might have done, Jesus’ disciples once sought to turn away children who wanted to see the Master Healer up close.  “Let them come to me, forbid them not,” Jesus told the disciples, “for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

And adds the Gospel of Mark, “he took (the children) up in his arms and blessed them” (10:16).,  

In God’s kingdom, Jesus loves Martin Richard dearly.  On earth, at the hands of some very sick people, Martin was slain.   When, oh when will Martin’s prayerful request be heard?  Perhaps now the heartbroken worldwide will rally to heed and act upon that request in a powerfully meaningful way.  This is our prayer.