Music & the Spoken Word: Persevere with hope

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music & the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, July 18, 2021.

If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, you know that something special happens in the middle of the seventh inning. It’s called the seventh-inning stretch. Reportedly, this tradition began way back in 1910, and baseball loves its traditions. So to this day, right before the home team’s half of the inning, all the fans stand up for a minute or two, often singing a song together. After all, they’ve been sitting in those seats for quite a while now, and it’s nice to get a good stretch in before the last two innings of the game.

Recently, the president of a large university pointed to the tradition of the seventh-inning stretch to make a point about our current global pandemic. While we all feel hopeful about the pandemic’s end, he told students, “a lot can happen in the last two innings of a baseball game.” A seventh-inning stretch can be refreshing, he said, but it should “also remind us of the need to continue on — the need to persevere” (see “Persevere in Unity,” Kevin J Worthen, Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 12, 2021, speeches.byu.edu).

To borrow another phrase made famous by baseball, it’s not over till it’s over. So when we take time to pause and reflect, to stand and stretch, we also prepare for what’s ahead. This allows us to embrace the future with confidence and hope.

The crowd stands during the seventh-inning stretch at a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, May 1, 2021.
The crowd stands during the seventh-inning stretch at a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, May 1, 2021. Credit: Louis DeLuca, Associated Press

We don’t know what the future will bring. But we do know this: Mixed in with periods of relative peace and calm, there will be inevitable storms and troubles. Those seem to be the basic ingredients of life. The question is not whether your life will be happy or sad, sweet or bitter. Every life has some of both: happy and sad, sweet and bitter— sometimes in the same day or even the same instant.

So what does a seventh-inning stretch provide? Perspective. By standing up for a moment, you can see a little better. You can reflect on where you’ve been and look ahead at what’s still to come. You may even see some encouraging possibilities on the horizon.

The team that’s ahead in the seventh inning knows that there’s still some work to do if they want to win. And the team that’s behind knows there’s always a chance until the final out is called. In both situations, the best thing any of us can do is persevere with hope.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages