What If?

One of my fondest memories of growing up in the Northwest was the Seattle Mariners’ 1995 season. According to baseball historians, the ’95 Mariners completed one of the greatest team comebacks in league history.

(I promise this is not just a post about baseball. Hang in there and keep reading.)

On August 2nd the Mariners were 13 games back of the first place Angels and were 11.5 games back as late as August 24th. If you’re not familiar with the baseball season, that’s not good.

As you probably know the M’s came all the way back and tied the Angels at the conclusion of the regular season to force a one game playoff.

The stakes were high. The winner would make the postseason, and the loser would go home.

The Mariners won that pressure packed game 9-1 behind the pitching of their ace Randy Johnson and we celebrated as if they had won the World Series!

They went on to win the divisional series against the hated New York Yankees. That series is also inspired a book entitled, Baseball’s Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History.

Eventually the magic ran out as they lost to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series.

Still the memory of being in the old, crusty, dusty Kingdome for those playoff games is one I’ll treasure for a long time.

I remember being scrunched into an uncomfortable seat with restricted viewing so I could watch my beloved Mariners defeat the Yankees in game four.

Edgar Martinez broke up a 6-6 game with a grand-slam homerun.

It was amazing. People were hugging; people were falling down in the aisles. People were dancing with joy in the concourses.

I’d never experienced anything like that before.

It makes me wonder…

What if we could build a church that offered people the same level of joy that the Seattle Mariners offered the entire Pacific Northwest?

People flooded to Mariner games at the end of that season. They suffered through traffic, expensive parking and long lines just to catch a glimpse of the magic.

They sat in a dilapidated worn out building to watch their heroes play a children’s game.

Long lines for tickets, bathrooms and below average ballpark food couldn’t keep them away.

When we celebrated Edgar’s grand slam in game four and his double in game five perfect strangers became friends and chanted, “REFUSE TO LOSE!” together.

All ages, races, socioeconomic groups were among their fans. Together they lived and died with every ball and strike.

It was beautiful. It was the Northwest, united.

What if we could build a church that elicited the same amount of passion and pride? What if we could create a place where rich and poor, black and white, old and young could hear and receive God’s Grace on a weekly basis?

What if?

That’d be pretty cool huh?

Let’s build it.

After all, like they say in the movies, if we do, people will come.

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