Sermon Illustrations

The Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline” is played at every Red Sox home game in Boston's Fenway Park before the bottom of the 8th inning. The tradition is said to date back to 1997 when the stadium DJ played it in honour of a newborn baby girl born of one of the staff members. The baby was of course named Caroline.

Then in 2013 there was a tragic bombing during the Boston marathon.

Neil Diamond arrived at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013, as the Red Sox played their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombing.

Diamond led the crowd at Fenway with an eighth-inning rendition of “Sweet Caroline.”

Seven years later, Diamond explained how the idea of him traveling to Boston, and the extraordinary day in general, came about. “I saw the announcement that the bomber had been caught and the game would go on. The more I thought about it, the more I just knew I had to be there,” Diamond told Red Sox historian Gordon Edes. “It was the night before the game. We were at home in Los Angeles and I told my wife Katie that we needed to go.

“At 4 a.m., we boarded a plane to Boston with no real plan other than to make our way to Fenway. No one was aware we were coming, but it felt so right that neither my wife nor I questioned it. We landed in Boston a little more than an hour before the game started.”

Diamond admitted he didn’t have a plan when he got to the ballpark.

“There was no band or music prepared for my appearance. I didn’t really have a plan. They handed me a microphone, I walked out on the field between home plate and first base and was careful not to step on the line,” Diamond said. “I sang along to the recorded version of the song that they usually use, so there were actually two Neil Diamond’s singing, the 1969 Neil and the 2013 Neil. I was just singing along with everyone else.”

“It was a very powerful moment with the audience joining in as one. There was a feeling of relief, unity, strength and love. I saw people in tears, people hugging. It was a moment that I will never forget,” Diamond said. “This day is among the most memorable of my career, and it was totally unplanned and unprepared. Maybe that’s where God came into the picture and helped it all come together in such a beautiful and spontaneous way.”

The power of presence. Incarnation.

Related Sermon Illustrations

  • I Saw A Peanuts Cartoon With Lucy Saying To ...

    Contributed by Michael De Rosa on Jan 2, 2007
    based on 1 rating
     | 1,890 views

    I saw a Peanuts cartoon with Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, "I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!" Charlie Brown says, "But I thought you had inner peace." Lucy ...read more

  • Caspar Ten Boon  PRO

    Contributed by Revd. Martin Dale on Jan 7, 2004
    based on 11 ratings
     | 2,830 views

    Caspar ten Boon In her famous book and film, “The Hiding Place” Corrie ten Boom tells the story of a Dutch Christian family, her family, who had a heart for the Jewish people Her grandfather Wilhelm started a weekly prayer group in 1844 in the city of Haarlem, near Amsterdam for the ...read more

  • We Find Ourselves In An Interesting Time In Our ...

    Contributed by Bruce Landry on Jan 15, 2007
     | 733 views

    We find ourselves in an interesting time in our churches history again. We are losing for a season Sherrie, Becky and the kids, this after just losing David, Juliann and Wyatt, boy it would be easy to lose heart. Yet God keeps giving me great expectation for this upcoming year, something that ...read more

  • When My Son Was 3 Years Old He Was Sitting In ...

    Contributed by Don Jones on Jan 1, 2007
     | 698 views

    When my son was 3 years old he was sitting in his room. We could hear his frustrated voice coming from his room. The vocal frustration grew and grew until finally his mom went to see what the problem was. She walked in the room and saw my son sitting before a pile of blocks on the floor. ...read more

Related Sermons