Ray Kinsella is an Iowa farmer who plows up part of his corn to plant a baseball field because some voices told him to do so in the movie, Field of Dreams. When he is finished, a team from the past (featuring Shoeless Joe Jackson), mysteriously comes out of the corn to play on the field. The bad news is that Kinsella’s actions have caused his already razor thin profit margin to evaporate and the bank is about to foreclose on him.
In a pivotal scene, Ray and his family are sitting in the bleachers watching the team play. His brother-in-law, Mark, is desperately trying to get him to sell his farm as a way of escaping foreclosure. Ray’s young daughter, Karin, has told him to keep the farm and field because people will pay to watch the team play. Mark finds it incredulous that Ray is leaning toward taking the advice of his daughter when he has a group of investors lined up to buy the farm and save him from financial ruin. Terence Mann, the reclusive writer Ray has brought to Iowa, finally speaks up. He is in favor Karin’s idea. His “people will come” speech is one of the classic moments of movie history.
People will come, Ray. They’ll come to lowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say. “It’s only $20 per person.” They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and peace they lack.
Then they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes and they’ll watch the game and it will be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.
People will come, Ray.
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. It’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.
People will come, Ray.
People will most definitely come.*
Mann says that baseball reminds people of “all that was once good and could be again.” I love that line because it’s about hope. I think that’s exactly the case with the resurrection of Jesus. It reminds us of all that is good and could be good again.
The early church was Resurrection Central. They lived, moved, and had their being in the resurrection. They ate it, drank it, and slept it. They thought about the resurrection, they talked about it, and they lived it.
I don’t think it’s that way with us today. The resurrection is important and maybe in some ways you could argue that it is central. But I know this: the resurrection does not mean to us what it meant to them. By that I don’t just mean it’s different in terms of emphasis—I think they understood the resurrection differently than we do. Listen to us talk about the resurrection and it’s all in either the past or future tense. Listen to them speak about the resurrection and it’s in the present tense. We speak of the resurrection and we’re selling shares in the future. They spoke of the resurrection as something that provided a hope that transcended circumstances and transformed lives. They understood the resurrection to mean that God was making all things new through Jesus.