A Sunday at Wrigleyville
This Sunday is back to normal for me. Church, write. Church, write. My Sundays have a certain cadence to them.
Not so last week. Last Sunday was different. One of the more unique Sundays of my life. The Sunday included church, ballgame and dinner. All in a place called Wrigleyville.
We were in Chicago for a colleague’s wedding and a short vacation to visit our nephew, who lives in the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park, a few miles north of Wrigley Field and within walking distance of Lake Michigan.
We stayed downtown and enjoyed all the things I love to do in Chicago. Pizza at Giordano’s. Shopping on Michigan Avenue. Dinner in Greektown. Boat ride on Lake Michigan off Navy Pier. Touring Chinatown.
But we set aside Sunday for a Cubs game so we could combine it with going to church with my nephew. His church literally sits three blocks up Addison Street from Wrigley Field.
We took the Red Line train from downtown to the Wrigley Field stop, and four loud, young guys sat in our car, hollering the whole way. Turns out they were Wrigley Field workers, and their animated debates were all sports related. On occasion, one would jump to his feet to act out a point.
We got off the train at the Addison stop, in Wrigleyville, met up with our nephew at the McDonald’s across the street from the stadium and then walked to Missio Dei Church. Services are held in a community center that on the inside looks like an old theater. Windows ring the balcony and were open, which means you could hear faint sounds from the street, which can be rowdy on Game Day.
But the open windows didn’t distract me. The service was very good. Missio Dei is exactly what you’d think a thriving Protestant church in Wrigleyville would be: contemporary, relevant, young.
I guessed the median age of the crowd at 27. We sang some songs I knew and liked, some I didn’t know yet liked, some I knew and didn’t like and some I didn’t know and didn’t like. Pretty much like my own church.
The pastor was gone, but a professor from Moody Bible Institute spoke and was very interesting, talking about the urban church. All in all, a splendid morning which reminded me that people all over America worship the Lord in all kinds of different places and all kinds of different ways.
Then we walked down to the stadium, about an hour before first pitch. The area around Wrigley Field is like a college campus on a football game day. Except Wrigleyville hosts 81 games a year, not seven.
I had bought three tickets on stubhub — $34 each, upper deck, down the third-base line, which I thought was a decent prize for a soldout game — for my wife, nephew and neice. I had a press pass so that I could chat post-game with Pirates manager John Russelll; we were in the same Norman High School graduating class (1979) and I covered John when he played baseball for the Sooners.
Anyway, a trip to Wrigley always is fun. It remains one of the greenest places I’ve ever been. Really does awe you every time you go, with the ivy on the walls, the rooftop bleachers, the lakefront skyline.
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