A vivid childhood memory is of a trip to the Bronx in New York City to attend a night game at the old Yankee Stadium, the one I thought Babe Ruth had actually built! My father carefully parked his 1956 Lincoln Capri in one of the huge parking lots at the stadium(we always called it ‘the stadium’, as if none other existed!). Then, hand-in-hand, walking together, through the turnstiles having our tickets punched, buying a program for that day’s game, inching our way up those concrete ramps to our seating level, squeezing through the musty, cavernous tunnels leading right out to the brightest, greenest grass I had ever seen. This was the playing field of the New York Yankees!
I could hardly believe my eyes. Stadium lights so brilliant that daylight surely could never be brighter. Smells of hot dogs, warm peanuts and sweet cotton candy floated in the air. Sounds of baseballs cracking off wooden bats, and mitts slapping in response to a ball going so fast and being caught so well. And then…then came the voice of the Yankees’ announcer, the one who announced their games for over 50 years.
The voice of Bob Sheppard. I can still hear his euphonious voice saying ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium’. Then ‘and now batting for the Yankees, number 7, Mickey Mantle, number 7.’ Still sends shivers up my spine. And then Yogi, Phil, Whitey, Gil and Billy!
The 10th chapter of John tells us about sheep and the shepherd. They know his voice and follow him. It’s the very voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. ‘…the sheep listen to His voice, He calls His own sheep by name and leads them…I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…they too will listen to my voice…'(vs. 3,14,16).
As Bob Sheppard called each Yankee player by name, so Jesus knows us, each one of His very own, and calls us into His service…by name. Our names. What’s more, He goes before us and leads us. We know His voice…from the Bible. Read it…pause over verses that grab you…Listen to the voice of the Shepherd! Do you hear Him calling your name?
Prayer: We hear your voice, our Lord, in the Bible. The more we read and study, the clearer your voice becomes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.