In Fenway as it is in Heaven

By Charlyn Valencia
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The sun was nearly setting after a warm summer day in 2012 as I experienced my first major league baseball game in person. Walking eagerly into Fenway Park with my freshly purchased paraphernalia, all of my senses were locked in and I joined strangers in rooting for our home team, the Boston Red Sox. I was first welcomed by the overwhelming aroma of ballpark franks, spilled lager, and overpriced popcorn. Strangers wearing similar Red Sox colors hurried past me to find their seats hoping to get a glimpse of the hero whose jersey they proudly sported. The phrase “Get your franks here!” became the white noise to the entire evening. Once we managed to find our seats, we waited with anticipation to see our heroes—David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. We joined our section in cheering for Big Papi as he stepped up to the plate. At the bottom of the 8th inning, we belted “Sweet Caroline” along with our neighbors with whom we shared the occasional sticky elbow tap. Fans united for one cause: to root for our home team.

From that night forward, I became enamored with the Red Sox. Living halfway across the country has only strengthened my bond to Fenway and the Green Monster. The emotions, sights, and sounds of my first visit to Fenway are engraved in my heart forever. The unity among diverse people and the recognition of greatness were undoubtedly minuscule and paled in comparison to eternal future realities, but they were glimpses of what John describes in Revelation 4 and 5.

In Revelation 4, John describes the scene in Heaven before the Throne of God. He then recounts the reaction of every living creature in Heaven and on earth—worship. In the end, peace that was once broken will be restored and, namely, the rightful recognition of God’s glory will return to its place above all creation. In this scene, The Almighty comes centerfold, and he is given his due praise.

Living in an overstimulating world sending us constant marketing, notifications, and subliminal messaging often successfully captivates our gaze to insignificant things. Revelation 4 shows us what a world without such insignificance would look like. We will be able to rightfully recognize and worship God. My heart just leaps for joy thinking that I will no longer have to worry about being tired or anxious and I can simply just worship God. There is no distraction and no question about who deserves the glory or why. It belongs to God and it is gladly given.

The once young man, who brought us the loving Jesus in his account of the Gospel, sets the stage for his audience to behold and exalt the once slaughtered Lamb, now risen Savior. In Revelation 5, John realizes no one is worthy to open the seals on the book, one of the elders points to Jesus. He is worthy. As Tim Keller says, He lived a life we could not live and died the death we should have died.

These chapters reveal to us that people from diverse backgrounds will be united for the sole purpose of worshiping the one and only worthy Almighty God. The Savior’s work surpassed cultures, altering eternal realities for people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.

Disunity has existed since the fall of man. The differentiation between “us” and “them” is used from trivial board games to critical conversations of race. Turning on any news channel, especially in recent years, reveals the unfortunate depth of disunity in our nation. Political, religious, and social disunity are constantly in rotation in the news circuit. It is disheartening to see and overwhelming to experience disunity because it was never meant to be this way. Thankfully, God will not allow human history to end with what we see today. Revelation 5 shows us precisely this.

When I see another name as a hashtag, I weep to God for unity. As I watch believers publicize their “deconversion” stories on social media, I plead to God for worship. His word, especially Revelation 4 and 5 gives me the hope I need to defy and look beyond current events. His word gives me compassion, hope and strength to press on. The compassion enables me to weep with those who weep. The hope gives me the courage I need to navigate uncertain situations. The strength empowers me to engage in difficult conversations.

As I think back to that summer evening at Fenway Park, I think of the beauty in unity and worship that I encountered. Baseball is a great sport—and thank God for it—but it is just a sport. Can you imagine the rush we will feel as we hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant,” and are ushered through those pearly gates? Can you picture the nations gathered to worship the One True Savior?

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