How about those Tigers!  They bounced right back from getting swept in Cleveland, and immediately made their own impressive “brooming” of Houston.  Pitching … hitting … runs galore.  It got a little dicey in the ninth inning last night, but Garcia struck out the final hitter on just three or four pitches.  These Tigers are a definite “one up” in my book.

Unfortunately, the “one down” is me.  After feeling cold symptoms for the first time in a few years, I made an appointment last Friday to be checked for COVID.  Monica got tested the next day.  By Monday morning her negative report was in, but there was no word on me.  Finally, Tuesday evening, around 7:30, I received the news – “You have tested positive for COVID-19.”

How did this happen?  I honestly do not know – nor am I spending too much time worrying about it because in my book, pathology only has limited value.  One ministry team member said to me, “You’re honestly one of the most careful people I know.”  What I do know is that as of last Friday I tested positive, and that I am doing my best to let everyone know.  The general reaction of those with whom I have had contact has been a perfect trifecta.   “Take care of yourself so your symptoms remain mild.”  “I will get myself tested tomorrow.”  “We are praying for you.”  I may be down, but please do not count me out at this time.

The body of Christ immediately rallied with full support as I knew they would.  Though both pastors from STL are currently quarantined, within 24 hours Sunday’s worship was covered.  Family and friends have been extremely supportive.  And I have no problem with working from home.

At this time I do not know how long I will be down – or how long the Tigers will be up.  Things can change rather quickly, just ask Anthony Mantha!  The Oakland A’s are a formidable foe.  COVID, on the other hand, will keep me quarantined for a while.

This morning’s Portals of Prayer spoke of how easy it is for us to get off track and end up lost – even when using GPS.  We get distracted, and we stop doing the little things that are necessary for success (like listening to the GPS).  It happens in baseball … it happens during pandemics … and it happens in our spiritual lives as well.  Jesus puts it so simply, “If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8.32) Ten minutes each day set aside to be with Jesus does not sound like much (and it really isn’t), but how easy it is to skip a day … and then another … and another … Worshipping with God’s people is easier today than it has ever been (I can do it anywhere with my smart phone), but I think it is even easier to skip worship!  Again, Jesus puts it so simply, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” (John 8.47)

We get off track … and even though we may not notice it, our days begin to change.  One up … one down.  Often we will even argue that we are fine just as we are.  This is nothing new, look at the conversation Jesus had with those “who had believed him” in the verses between the two above passages.  And you will get no argument from me – after all, your argument is really with Jesus. “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8.34-36)

A. J. Hitch, in my book, has gone through confession and absolution and is now helping our Tigers stay focused on those little things.  Jeff Blashill seems to be doing the same with our Wings.  Stevie and Al are working at bringing in the talent.  Will they both be champions again soon?  I hope so, but no-one really knows.  How would you feel if we end up with “One up, One Down”?

And then one last word from the One who went down on Good Friday but is now up forevermore: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3.16-17)  Rather than holding you down, Jesus is the ONE who will hold you UP forever.

One Up, One Down