On Tuesday evening I got in a ball game at Comerica Park. It was a great night with three great guys. Thanks Mark and Dan and Rob for a good night – with special props to Mark for the wonderful seats. It was a wild evening.
So much happened — well everything happened but the Tigers winning. I will miss getting to the Tiger games. It is so much fun to be at Comerica with friends. Not to say I won’t make the trip down the 401 after July 1st to get in a game or two – especially if our Tigers make the playoffs. I enjoy the games and I enjoy meeting new people each time we go.
I was pleased to be seated next to a lovely young couple name Pheape and Anthony. (Note: this couple has allowed me to blog about meeting them). They are a delightful couple from West Bloomfield who are engaged to be wed on April 7 of next year. They seem excited to be getting married and told me all about the church where their wedding will be held. We really got to know them when shortly after we sat down a foul ball was headed our way. I have never had a foul ball come near me in over 13 years of attending Tiger games. Sadly, my first thought was, “How will I ever preach at St. Mark’s or St. Aidan’s if I have a concussion.” So I put my arms over my head and I ducked. Yikes…Anthony (sitting right next to me) caught the ball! The one time I have a chance at a foul ball and I was crouched over in the fetal position. Terrible!
I got to know this young couple a little over the next few innings and it turns out they knew, somehow or another, that they would be on the new Jumbo Tron in the sixth inning. “Would it be possible for you to take our photo when we are up there?” she asked. “No Problem!” But that was without thinking too much about it. You see it never occurred to me that I would be on that Jumbo Tron too as I was sitting next to them as they kissed for the kissing cam. So taking a look at the photo, I am the guy in the red jacket holding a iPhone and taking a photo while the lovely looking couple next to me smooched. I have never been on the Jumbo Tron before another big first. From what the boys say, I have never been so vivid either!
Anthony and Pheape are a good example of how you can have a lot more fun if you are willing to engage with those you encounter on a daily basis. Our conversation was interesting. They were quite surprised that I was a priest in the Anglican Church – I cannot imagine why? But then I flashed my St. Mark’s by-the-Lake jacket and they knew for sure that I was not foolin’. Each opportunity we have to bear witness and speak freely about the fact that we are people of faith is a gift and I was pleased to share that gift last evening. They had many questions about the Anglican Church and how it compared to Chaldean Catholicism. Chance encounters are also a good opportunity to bear witness to the fact that even clergy enjoy a good ballgame. Well ok — the ballgame was not great but it was a great time. Albert Schweitzer said, “We cannot possibly let ourselves get frozen into regarding everyone we do not know as an absolute stranger.” I could not agree more. Many of us, in urban settings especially, could spend many days among many people who are unknown to us become fixed into the idea that we are all strangers. But most are not absolute strangers. A Conversation with ‘the stranger’ often allows to us see very quickly that we have much more in common with strangers than we think. I try to live by notion that strangers are just friends that I have yet to meet. There are not many days that pass by that I do not meet someone for the first time and engage a conversation. You never know who you might meet when you reach beyond yourself welcome the stranger into conversation. Hebrews 13:1-2 says, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
I am grateful for having had time with strangers to talk, to learn, to listen and to laugh. Who will I entertain tomorrow? Who will you entertain tomorrow?