1 Corinthians 15:3-4 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures
April 4, 2012 marks the first day of the new Major League Baseball season. In stadiums scattered throughout the land teams will meet on fields of freshly mown grass. The crowds will be there filling the various stadiums. The beer vendors and hawkers of hot dogs will have a banner day. The umpires and players and managers will don their uniforms. Now imagine with me for a moment that the national anthem has been sung and the game is about to begin. The pitcher stands on the mound and a man comes to stand in the batter’s box. It is now that something very unusual is seen—there is no bat and there is no ball. There are uniforms and gloves and caps and umpires and crowds and hot dogs and beer, but no bat and no ball. Whatever you have on display on that field of green is not baseball. It may look like baseball, but it is not. The bat and the ball are the very essence of the game. You do not need great crowds to have baseball. You do not need caps or uniforms. You do not need grandstands or hot dogs or beer. You need the bat and the ball.
The cross and the empty tomb which will be celebrated this weekend is the very essence of our faith. Without the cross and the empty tomb you do not have Christianity. Christianity is not about how many people show up, it is not in buildings and in pews and instruments and choirs and steeples. It is not in pulpits or in pews. Our faith stands or falls upon the twin realities of a crucified and risen Savior. There are many things that are good and needful and useful, but there is only one thing that is central. Whatever our churches are known for, may they above all be known for the proclamation of the heart and soul of our faith.