In a recent edition of his Tuesday Mornings newsletter, Tom Barnard writes, “A few days ago, under a cloudless sky and a toasty sun in Florida and Arizona, the 2006 pre-season for professional baseball teams began. As sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe said about the opening day of spring training, ‘If you live for baseball, the first full squad spring workout is just about the best day of the season. It means that box scores—one of the four basic food groups for seamheads around the world—will soon be part of your morning breakfast again.’

“It’s called anticipation! It’s an old ritual, but new every year. It happens with every professional baseball team in the universe. It happens at the same spring locations in the southeast and southwest. Many of the same fans will be there—watching and screaming and eating hot dogs. It’s called anticipation!

“No games have been played yet this spring. No umpires have walked onto the field to announce, ‘Batter Up!’ No strikes or balls have been called. No runs have been scored. No winners announced. Opening Day for major league baseball is around the corner…and baseball fans everywhere are ready! It’s called anticipation!

“Could there be any correlation between what happens in baseball parks in the spring and church services on Sundays where you worship? Probably not. There is a huge difference between baseball and church. I just thought I would ask.

“Do you see anticipation on the faces of kids whose parents drop them off at the entrance to your church five minutes before the beginning of Sunday School? Do adults enter your sanctuary on Sunday with a look of anticipation and excitement that is anything like the expressions on the faces of baseball fans who enter your hometown ballpark this spring? When the choir (or worship team) begins singing the first words of their song…do you see anticipation on their faces? Do their bodies or hands move with anticipation at the sound of the drums and electric guitars that signal the start of corporate worship? Is this too much to expect when God’s children gather?

“Someone apparently forgot to explain things to the psalmist. Here is what he had to say about worship:

“Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord Almighty—He is the King of glory” (Psalms 24:7-10).

“How about starting your 11 a.m. worship service next Sunday with those words? It won’t happen where you worship, you say? It’s too enthusiastic, you say? It’s too emotional, you say? It’s too noisy, you say? Too bad. Professional baseball is far ahead of most churches in terms of anticipation, and their season hasn’t even started yet!”

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