At the end of August, my wife and I ferried our daughter back to college in eastern Iowa (Cornell College—not Cornell University, for the curious). She and I decided to take the opportunity to vacation in Iowa; we were already there, after all! Being fans of minor-league baseball, we hoped to do three (baseball-related) things: (1) attend a Cedar Rapids Kernels game (Single-A minor league); (2) attend an Omaha Stormchasers game on our way home (Triple-A minor league); and (3) visit the "Field of Dreams” (in Dyersville, IA — about an hour north of the college).
This year is the 30th anniversary of the release of the iconic movie, “Field of Dreams”. “If you build it, they will come” — the memorable quotation from the movie —a web search reveals— is the the 39th most memorable quote from ANY movie. It has become part of our cultural vocabulary, much like many quotations from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, or the “Harry Potter” series. And, like those films, “Field of Dreams” tells a wonderful, universal, story . . . a story of faith in the face of ridicule and dis-belief. I will not tell the whole story of the film (it is such a classic (even if you aren’t a fan of baseball) that I DEMAND—pastoral directive—that you find it and watch it). BUT, there are connections to the Noah’s Ark story, as well as to so New Testament stories, that it is too difficult to ignore.
As I suggested, much of the movie is about faith. AND, it is about building things . . . things for which we may not see the ultimate product. It is a universal experience, putting our faith, our energy, our resources, in things that do not have certain outcomes. We send our children off to school, hopeful but uncertain, to learn what they will need to succeed. We embark on new jobs, hopeful but uncertain, what WE will need to succeed. Planting a tree for our children—a tree whose shade we may not see—is all about hope, about faith.
At Good Shepherd, we are building “it”! We, as a congregation, can point to the renovation of our basement, our critical space for our children and youth, as well as those other community groups that use our building. We can point to the rebuilding of our organ—such a critical part of our worship experience, something that so many “Good Sheep” value. We can point to the rebuilding of our capacity to care for one another, in times of joy and challenge.
We are building! This is a great time for Good Shepherd! It hearkens back to the “great times” of our past. It holds those times close to our hearts, and it gives us encouragement and hope for the future! Whether it’s music, worship, education, or community care and service (THESE are the things we value!) . . . we HAVE built it! Now it is our challenge, our opportunity, our mission, to let our community know that there is a “Field of Dreams” in the neighborhood, not just in Iowa!
Another quotation from the movie is the question: “Is this heaven”?. “No”, is the response, “It’s Iowa.”
Maybe . . . but, NO! it’s right near the corner of Dry Creek and Yosemite!
We know the “Field of Dreams” . . . . We’re on that field, dreaming big dreams!