Perfect. Such a beautiful word.
Many of you have been praying for our Gather to Scatter outreaches throughout the month of April. We saw God blow our expectations out of the water with the response to our Community Dinners. We had a good turnout for our Easter worship gathering and a great turn-out for our ice cream and game night. God has been doing exactly what we prayed he would do. He's been giving us the opportunity to have multiple relational connections with the same group of people. He is so good. So perfect.
The culmination for our April is Awesome events was this past Saturday. Including about 25 people from The Pathway, we had 110 people signed up and confirmed to attend the Seattle Mariners game with us. That's two full busloads of people and God provided us the means to do it. Everything seemed perfect. We made tons of phone calls confirming those who were coming. We went to our waiting list to fill the spots of those who backed out. Things were shaping up.
Saturday morning was full of anticipation but ended up being far from perfect. By the time the buses needed to leave, we had more "no-shows" than I could have ever imagined. Far from perfect. I was discouraged, frustrated and guilt-ridden about how much of God's money we had spent on this event only to see so many people blow it off in such an irresponsible and ungrateful way. I was actually pretty angry. We loaded up on the buses, still with a large number of people, and headed to the game.
For those who follow baseball, you may know what happened on Saturday at the Mariners vs. White Sox game. Although our event was far from perfect, we witnessed baseball perfection. Philip Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in Major League baseball history. For those who know me, you know this was an amazing experience for me. Even though I'm slowly becoming a Mariners fan (although they will never replace my beloved Braves), to witness an event that so few humans have ever or will ever witness live was amazing. As the innings passed, I kept looking around at our group. There were only a handful of us that actually realized what was going on. Perfection was coming and so many people didn't even recognize what was happening.
As I watched that 9th inning, Humber was far from perfect in a lot of ways. His first 3 pitches to the first batter were no where near the strike zone. His fourth pitch was right down the middle for a called strike. The undisciplined bat of Michael Saunders helped the mortal Humber reach baseball immortality by swinging at two pitches well outside the strike zone for the first out of the inning. Then, to end perfection with ugliness, Humber threw a bad chase slider outside the zone that Brendan Ryan should never have thought about swinging at. The ball got away from the catcher but because Ryan was whining to the umpire, the catcher had time to retrieve the ball and throw to first base for the final out of the inning. Perfect.
Although Humber was far from perfect in that final inning. The result was still baseball perfection. 27 up and 27 down. No runs, no hits, no walks, no errors... no base runners. No one noticed all the imperfections in the game because the result was perfect.
As I reflect on our final major April event. I realize I was so focused on the imperfections I almost missed the perfect will of God being accomplished. Although strategically the event was far from perfect, the result was God's perfect plan being finalized. As was pointed out to me by some of our leaders, our church had worked so hard the entire month and the game was a great opportunity for them to be rewarded, loved on and encouraged. That happened perfectly. As a baseball fan, it irked me royally that the majority of our group did not know baseball perfection was happening. But part of the reason was that they were all talking, laughing and investing relationally in the people we had come to the game to serve and love on. Perfect.
Perfect is an interesting word. The day after the perfect game at Safeco field in Seattle, God brought more people than ever to our worship gathering. We were able to launch a new Intentional Community, number 7, that included a brand new couple, one saved and one not, who is ready to engage God in their life. Perfect.
I realize now that God's will is perfect. We do our best, play our part and work hard. But faith is trusting that God is working all things together for the good of those who love him. That is what is happening in Tacoma by the grace of God and through the faithfulness of your prayers.