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Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: Bleacher Creature
By Leticia Caroccio
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I am an official, card-carrying member, in good standing, of the New York Yankees Bleacher Creatures Association. Watching the Yankees play from so high up is a whole new ballgame and a thoroughly new experience for those who have never been there before. The Bleacher Creatures are those fans who are interested in being loud, crazy, and obnoxious and are not afraid of making a spectacle of themselves.
By nature, I am a woman of decorum. Yet, on the bleachers in Yankee Stadium, my alter-ego takes over and I am no longer recognizable to those who know me. With fists flying in the air, I proceed to yell at the top of my lungs at every pitch, swing, hit or out. I question every decision the umpire makes against the Yankees. How dare he call a third strike! From my vantage point, that ball was way outside. We bleacher creatures are all agreement and we let our feelings known.
The most amazing games to be a part of are when the Boston Red Sox come to town. This is a true-blue war and I get ready to do battle. On my head you will find my favorite Yankees hat, worn and tattered, with scars of previous battles. I put on my war colors in the form of my blue Yankees jacket. Underneath my jacket is my faded Reggie Jackson T-shirt, my armor that I hold close to my heart. Lastly, I bring my glove, hoping to catch an upper-decker homerun. As long as Iíve been a Yankees fan, I have yet to catch one. But I still hope and I make sure to be prepared for the event.
Becoming a Christian in January of 2003, I was drawn to the music and worship component of the church service. The voices that were raised and the praises that were offered intimidated me. I didnít feel as if I fit into this aspect of the Christian life. I wasnít comfortable with raising my voice or my arms and making a spectacle of myself in this venue. Almost immediately, I began to withdraw from my new family and from the Lord. I was in culture shock. I thought that ďchurch peopleĒ were more reserved. Seeing the passion and devotion in the faces of everyone around me, I wasnít prepared for their affection to the Lord.
Not being someone who normally questioned my feelings, I didnít even think to pray about this situation. Still, the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, saw my need. The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. In a still, small, yet powerful voice, He began to teach me how to worship Him. He taught me to fall into Him. To my surprise, a sacrifice of praise began to come from my heart and out of my mouth. I was learning to praise and worship my Lord.
In this past year, I have learned that He doesnít want lip service. He, instead, wants me to worship Him in spirit and in truth. He wants me praise and worship Him from my heart. I have learned that it doesnít matter how I appear to others around me but more importantly, how I appear to the Lord.
As a fanatical, die-hard New York Yankees fan, I made sure the world knew who I was cheering for and supporting. I never gave a second thought to screaming at the top of my lungs as I endorsed my team. And yet, here I was, scared and intimidated to stand for the one who saved my life. Ironic, isnít it?
Now that I am a Christian, I must learn to be bold and courageous and follow the convictions of my heart. I must praise the Lord for His goodness and His mercy. I must desire to sing and shout and dance for my Jesus. Just as a tree raises its branches up towards the sun for nourishment, I vow to raise my hands in praise and worship to the One who has never withheld any good thing from me. If I could emphatically pump my fists up in support of the Yankees, then how could I not do the same for Jesus?