New Jersey Pastor LL Kroouze DuBreuil shared this meditation on Cracker Jack Christians a little earlier this fall and I thought what a remarkable reflection it would be moving in to the “World” Series baseball competition which is so very much an event of United States sports.
“Well, that there is a cracker jack idea!”
Ever hear this expression?
When Frederick Rueckheim mixed molasses, popcorn, and peanuts back in 1893, he created an icon of ballgame snacks. Soon, his excellent treat became synonymous with “excellent,” a metaphor sure to make you smile.
And, a prize was tucked into each box of Cracker Jacks: a whistle, a charm, a small figure, and – if you were really lucky – a ring!! But then a few years ago, these tiny treasures disappeared as the producers feared law suits from the parents of children who could choke on the prizes. First they gave way to paper comics, temporary tattoos, and stickers. Lately the prizes require a smart phone to cash in on a game.
Has our Christian witness gone the way of the Cracker Jack prize? Have we gone from eagerly awaited surprises to tepid, timid pronouncements? Unwilling to risk offending or even choking up our listeners, have our statements and sermons become safe and soft? Have we gotten rid of ideas and prizes that delight and challenge in favor of the bland and easily acceptable? Have we lost our willingness to surprise others with our “excellent” or Cracker Jack ideas?
Lord, help me to be a cracker jack Christian – sometimes sweet, sometimes nutty, but always with an added surprise worth sharing. Amen.
And then … just to be silly this improv on the song so often sung in the “seventh inning stretch”
Improv on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
(Norworth, Von Tilzer,1908)
Bring us in – let our hearts flame.
Pitch us smiles, walk us home.
Grace our baseball and soccer, too,
board games, video, archery, crew.
Now it’s win or lose and then shake hands –
if we can’t play, it’s a shame.
From sandlots to stad’ums we’re blessed
For the joy of games! Amen.