I shared this past Sunday out at the Audubon center, Christianity is about digging it out of the dirt.
It’s a baseball analogy. When a grounder is hit to an infielder, the short stop “digs it out of the dirt” and makes a play to second or first. It’s an amazing feat of athleticism. It’s also a great metaphor for what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We believe in digging life out of the dirt. When life blazes something crazy our way, when life feels like it’s in the dirt, when we’re being run into the ground, our faith says, “Through the power of God, we can use our creativity and dig our life out of the dirt.”
It’s ultimately the Easter message. They killed Jesus and had him in the dirt, (well, in a tomb, but you get the idea) he was dead. Three days later God tore thought the dirt and raised Jesus up to life. God dug Jesus up out of the dirt. God has been doing the same ever since. Through Christ we say that rocks in the roads, boulders that crush us, things that kill us are not impediments for God. The power of God can empower us to dig our lives out of the dirt. That’s the key, God works, and we need to work. We need to take God’s power and use it to rebuild our lives.
I have two examples from the CUC family that I want to share with you.
Tom just passed away last week after a five-year battle with cancer. Five years ago, when Tom was diagnosed, they told him he had six months to live. He needed to get his affairs in order and get ready to die. I remember Tom telling me he refused the diagnosis. He was going to fight for life. And he did. He found every type of experimental drug he could. He squeezed the life out of every day. Tom played drums in a band. He played until he broke his sticks. Tom was an avid skier. He skied like there was no tomorrow and only paused when he took a bad spill and broke his leg. Life gave Tom a fast grounder. He dug it out of the dirt and kept on playing the game. I’d like to tell you that Tom was cured. What I can say is that Tom was healed. His soul was whole, and his life was full when Tom passed away this past week. Tom entered his glorious resurrection. He rebuilt his life living with a terminal diagnosis.
This October is the one-year anniversary of the death of Dean Picket. Dean and Cindy are well loved people at Columbine United Church. It was a freak accident in the middle of a windstorm where Dean was struck in his back yard by an errant gate. It was a total shock to the family, and to the community. Life sent Cindy a blazing grounder. Cindy could have let this tragedy destroy her. Let’s be clear, it was devastating. But bit by bit, day after day, Cindy dug her life out of the dirt. She homeschooled her grandchildren. She was involved with her friends. She shared with me she has set a goal for next September to go on a pilgrimage to walk the Santiago Compostela in Spain. It’s a five-hundred-mile journey. She started by walking less than a quarter mile a day. She’s now up to three miles a day. Step by Step she’s digging her life up out of the dirt. To me this is a huge victory! She has set a challenge and goal ahead of her. Each day she walks, she is claiming another day for life. We remember Dean with a great deal of love, and we celebrate his resurrection. When you go out for a walk this month do it in honor of Cindy and celebrate her victory.
What kind of grounder has life blazed at you? Death, unemployment, COVID, loneliness, mental illness? I want you to think of God empowering you to dig it out of the dirt. God is with you every step of the way. Live like Tom and Cindy. Live a full abundant life.