Last night, I saw injustice in action. I had a baseball game on TV as background noise, when suddenly they switched to a different game, between Detroit and Cleveland. It was the bottom of the ninth inning. Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was three outs away from a perfect game--27 batters up, 27 outs. I called my kids into the room. "You have to watch this," I said, "A perfect game almost never happens." The first two batters were retired, one on a sensational over-the-shoulder catch by Detroit's centerfielder. Just one out to go...a soft ground ball on the right side of the infield...a close play at first...and the umpire called him...SAFE. The perfect game was ruined.
Only it was the wrong call. Replays showed it clearly; the runner should have been called out. My daughter Kayleigh doesn't watch a lot of baseball, and she was confused. "Aren't they going to review it? Won't the other umpires come and tell him what really happened? Can't he change his mind?" But a call in baseball, once made, stands forever. Armando Galarraga is an average major league pitcher (he was in the minor leagues as recently as last month). This was most likely his only shot at baseball immortality, and it was stolen from him.
Oddly, I found myself feeling sorry for the umpire, Jim Joyce, a man with 22 years of experience who has umpired World Series games. To his credit, Joyce admitted after seeing a replay that he was wrong. "It's the biggest call of my career," Joyce said, "I just cost this kid a perfect game." But there's no going back. The toothpaste is out of the tube.
We live in a world of injustice. It is a world filled with hatred, violence, bitterness and prejudice. If we believed our God was oblivious to these things, He wouldn't be much of a God. But of course, He is not oblivious. He has a plan to right the wrongs. The Jim Joyce in all of us has an opportunity to be forgiven and--even better--reconciled to God and to those who have been oppressed. This Sunday we'll talk a close look at Ephesians 2:11-22 at God's plan for peace on Earth. See you then.