By the Very Rev. Sam Candler
Dean of the Cathedral
(An Invocation given for The Rotary Club of Atlanta, 27 March 2023)
Tick. Tick. Tick.
The clock is ticking.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
The major league baseball season is about to start, and they have added a clock to baseball.
Let us pray! O Lord, my God, they have added a clock to baseball, the sport we once worshipped for its lack of a clock.
Many of us have adored the sport of baseball, because it has been like you, O God. It has not been run by clock. It has been like God, everlasting and eternal, unable to be contained by our human-made concoctions, like time.
Theoretically, baseball has had no boundaries. If a player reaches over beyond the fence and catches a ball in the stands, beyond the bounds of the field, the play is valid and the batter is out. In that same spirit of no boundaries, the Savannah Bananas say that even if a fan catches a foul ball in the stands, the batter is out.
Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. both played in the famous minor league baseball game, on April 18 and 19, 1981, that lasted 33 innings. It was suspended at 3:30 am on Easter morning; as they were headed home, players saw people going to the Easter sunrise services.
Baseball has shown us the eternal, limitless, no-boundaried God.
But now, O God, Tick. Tick. Tick.
There is a clock.
There is a clock limiting the amount of time it takes a pitcher to throw the ball. The batter, too, has to be ready with eight seconds to go. Well, despite some alarm, spring training baseball seems to be working even with these new limits!
And, come to think of it, there should be a limit on how long the invocation at a Rotary meeting should take.
O Lord, our God, teach us to live within the constraints of “Chronos” time. Tick. Tick. Tick. It tells us when to show up. It tells us when time is up.
But teach us, also, to live in “Kairos” time, the beautiful time that is outside time. Show us moments of glory, that are so powerful that they exist beyond the clock. They are the moments in which we lose ourselves by serving someone, the moments in which we lose ourselves by loving someone, the moments in which we are taken outside ourselves. The moments when we are in touch with You, O glorious God.
We gather today in the name of the God who is outside time. The God of service. The God of love.
And, one more thing: Go Braves!