The All Star Game has come to St. Louis. That is all we have heard about on the St. Louis new channels for the past week. The game is great as it gives the bragging rights to either the National League or the Junior (American) League. I know that the American League has won quite a bit recently. I am pulling the National League just because the Cubbies are in the National League. Yes, I also know it is more than just for bragging rights. It gives home field advantage to the winning league for the World Series.
The All Star Game is to bring the best of the best together for one game. It brings in the top hitters (which has also spawned the Home Run Derby), the best pitchers and the best fielders. There will always be someone that is left out because the balloting for the team is done by the fans, which is a great thing. Let the fans say who they think is the best. After all, the game is about the fans, giving them the show they want. The best of the best, standing together for one game, showing what they got and who they.
I thought about that this morning and I realized that the All Star Game is described in Hebrews 11. All right, so that is a stretch. But the Bible All Star team is listed in Hebrews 11, the great chapter of faith. Listed there in Hebrews 11 we find all those that stand by faith in God. The refrain that runs through the chapter is "By faith..." By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. Why? Because he offered his sacrifice by faith, that's why. It wasn't that Abel was really a better person. He was just as sinful as Cain. The difference between them is that Abel was guided by faith in God while Cain was guided by faith in himself.
As you read through Hebrews 11, you come to realize that the men and women described there were not really "All Stars." They were common people, doing common things, living common lives, being common sinners. The thing that set them apart from the world around them is the fact that they continued to live by faith in God. They sinned, oh did they sin. And yet, they still trusted in God, turned to Him for forgiveness and lived the faith.
That, my dear reader, is what we are called to do. We are All Stars as we live by faith, faith that is planted in us by the Holy Spirit and nurtured in us through the Word and Sacraments. By faith we live each day. We will sin. We will continue to sin until the day we die. Why? We are sinful by nature. Our natural self is corrupted, totatlly and completely. Then the Spirit comes to us, cleanses us from our sins (read Isaiah 6:1-8 for Isaiah's cleansing and realize that is what the Spirit must do for us too!).
Then we live by faith. We are guided by faith - at home, with the family, by ourselves, at work, at school, at the playground and even at the All Star Game (for those of you who are going). Faith guides our actions. It empowers us to follow the will of the Lord each day. While Hebrews 11 shows us all those who have been in the spiritual All Star Game in the past, the team is made up of people today - people like you and me, people living out their faith each day in ordinary situations as well as in situations that seem overwhelming.
By faith Arline lays in the hospital bed in Barnes and says, "I'll be all right. God will help me." By faith, Agnes couldn't talk, walk or even breath on her own but she still trusted in God, following Him with her whole heart. By faith, you are facing personal crises, knowing that they may turn out terrible but God is still with you and you will make it through. Living by faith doesn't mean that it will always go the way we plan. Living by faith means that we trust the end result is always the same - life in Christ, here on earth (even if that means we must face pain and suffering for a time) and then life forever with Him in heaven.
By faith, you and I are in the Game of life. By faith, we are All Stars in that Game.