March 18, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 26



Monte Holland

This is the twenty-sixth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 25

Today’s photographs feature the chapel on the Isles of Shoals, islands eight miles off the shore where New Hampshire and Maine meet. To view pictures click:


14All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. Galatians 5:14 : Contemporary English Version (CEV)

     I think that the following story, shared by my sister-in-law, Jane, puts the whole practice of love into perspective. Our exercise for today is to reflect on this story and attempt to put yourself in the story and imagine your response. This is a complicated situation. Does the boy (the baseball team captain?) have to put Shay in the baseball game in order to be a loving person? Is he also responsible to his other team members? How do we respond to special needs persons and their desires? Read the story and reflect it. 

     At a fundraising dinner for a special needs school, the a student’s father delivered a speech that would be remembered by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

     ‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

     ‘Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.  Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

     The audience was stilled by the query.

     The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

     Then he told the following story: 

     Shay and I walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’

     I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, he would receive a much-needed sense of belonging, and some confidence, by being accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

     I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

     Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

     In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but remained behind by three.

     In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field. He was grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

     In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Shay was scheduled to be the next at bat—with two outs and the bases loaded.

     At this juncture, does the team let Shay bat, giving away their chance to win the game?  Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

     Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.

     As Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly in order that Shay could at least make contact with it.

     At the first pitch Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. Shay swung at the ball, hitting a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. Shay should have been out, ending the game.

     However…..the pitcher picked up the soft grounder, which he could have easily have thrown to the first baseman…..and threw the ball over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all teammates.

     Everyone from the stands and members of both teams started yelling ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’  Never in his life had Shay ever run that far. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled, making it to first base. Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

     Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time he rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball—the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He has an easy opportunity to throw the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions. He intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third- baseman’s head.

     Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.  All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay.’

     Shay reached third base after the opposing team’s shortstop ran to help him, turning him in the direction of base. The shortstop shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’

     As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘ Shay, run home! Run home!’ When Shay stepped on the home plate, he was cheered as ‘the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.’

     ‘That day’, said the father softly with tears rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

     Shay didn’t have another summer. He died that winter, never forgetting that he was the hero, never forgetting that he made me so happy, and never forgetting returning home to have his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Tomorrow we begin looking at Jesus’ list of blessings that we can have as part of the Godly, moral life in the Beatitudes.

Continue on to the next lesson on A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: 27 by clicking on:


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Monte and I welcome any comments you might have on the Lenten posts. Use the COMMENT box below to respond. For details on the COMMENT CONTEST click on:



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