Summary: This sermon is based on the theme of the movie: Field of Dreams.It was preached to encourage the church as we embarked on a building program
INTRODUCTION: In 1989 the movie – The Field of Dreams – was released. It starred Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, an idealistic city boy and ex-hippie turned Iowa corn farmer. Standing in the middle of his corn field, Ray hears the ghostly voice of a dead baseball player – Shoeless Joe Jackson – telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field. The voice repeatedly tells him “if you build it he will come!” later on the voice tells Ray to “ease his pain.” It also encourages Ray to “go the distance.”
With this crazy vision in his head Ray builds his baseball diamond – complete with bleachers and flood lights – in his field. His wife is semi-supportive of her husband’s weird obsession but she is more worried about their finances. Soon the ghosts of baseball players who had been disgraced in a 1919 White Sox game start to appear, but only those who believe can see them.
Not long after Ray visits a reclusive writer in Boston – played by James Earl Jones- to find out exactly what is meant by the voices and the purpose for the field. At first the writer, Terence Mann is reluctant to even hear what Ray has to say but he eventaually relents and agrees to go with Ray to meet with another ex-baseball player, Doc Graham. This after ray hears the voice saying, “go the distance.” We find out later that Mann hears the voices also and he heard and he heard the voice telling Ray to go the distance.
Back in Iowa, Ray Kinsella is faced with the prospect of ruin and the loss of his farm. His brother-in-law pleads with him to give up his crazy dream and sell the farm to him and his partners but Ray is reluctant, especially after his little daughter tells him that “people will come.” Ray’s daughter exhibits a childlike faith that solidifies her father’s resolve to keep his filed of dreams. In a memorable speech James Earl playing Terence Mann, tells Ray about baseball and how important it was as a part of American life. Jones says to Kevin Costner: (Insert video clip: Scene 29 “Field of Dreams”) Take a look
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.
If you build it they will come! I have always liked that concept. Not just because of its significance in the movie but because of the truth that can be perceived in that simple statement…if you build it people will most definitely come. But I am not talking about baseball diamonds here…I am talking about a church. A bigger church than the one we now have…and not just for our ego but for the people of God. I know that there are many churches in Queens NY and some might say ‘why do we need one more?” I’ll say to them, “why not?”
To borrow from James Earl Jones’ speech, I will say that there certainly has been one constant in America but it is not baseball at all; it is faith; faith in the God of the Bible. This nation has been founded on Christian principles. But like the character says: “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again…” When we see the state of this country we can say that this indeed is true. And still there are those who will seek to erase all vestige of this heritage from the public square.
When we consider the prevailing culture, what will your children and grandchildren face? The future does not seem to hold much promise but I remember Moses sitting down the children of Israel as he expounded to them a time honored truth – words by which they should live: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deut 6:4-5 these words were to be a code by which they should live. It was a command that would be in their hearts. Moreover, he commanded that this statute be passed down to successive generations, to the sons and grandsons and it was to be taught diligently to the children.
Over the years the vision of Grace has been defined and redefined. As we grow we find that God is cutting away the rough edges and bringing us closer to His vision for us. We know and we understand that the vision is for an “appointed time.” But it will take a people who have been able to catch the vision; and a people who are willing to run with it. And in the end it will be our children and your grandchildren that will benefit from the sacrifices that we are willing to make.