Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Days & the Sacred Game

April is a month of high holy days for Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.

This spiritual renewal (Easter in my tradition) intersects wonderfully with springtime and baseball...and many would claim baseball has its sacred aspects!

So, it's fitting that I share this Opening Day Prayer. I've saved it from our 2003 season; written and prayed by our friend, Father Joe Vetter, Duke's campus minister:

Good and faithful God, as we come together for fun and fellowship we pause to acknowledge your greatness, to express our thanks, and to ask your blessing.

You are the creator of life, the source of peace. You are our hope, O God. We ask you to help us build a more peaceful world, where justice reigns for all and no one is excluded from your abundant table.

Thank you for Springtime. We are so grateful that the winter cold and icy surprises are over for another year. Our spirits are renewed by the budding trees and flowers, by the smell of new mown grass and fertile soil, by the warm breezes and longer afternoons.

Thank you for tonight, in a special way for baseball, and the Durham Bulls. It is so good to return to this inviting stadium. May we have good times here and meet new friends. May we celebrate our unity and diversity as people of the Triangle, as neighbors and friends.

Loving God, we thank you for visits with Wool E. Bull, for hotdogs, for fireworks, homeruns and sumo wrestlers. As we sing “Take me out to the ballgame” with Doc Watson, help us to forget our troubles, relax and unwind.

We ask your blessing on our team and staff, on the companies who sponsor these games, and on our public servants who provide order and safety when we gather.

Send us forth from this stadium as people who respect each other more, who are a little prouder of our community, and with renewed energy to build a better world beyond this ballpark.

Thank you, O God, for the small things which make life so good – for Springtime, for good friends and good food, for music and laughter...and for baseball.

(Father Joe Vetter, Campus Minister and Director of the Newman Catholic Center at Duke University)