Magazine article The Christian Century

Renewable Energy

Magazine article The Christian Century

Renewable Energy

Article excerpt

Andy, age nine, is jumping rope without a rope. "Is that your invisible jump rope?" his brother John asks him. "No," says Andy, "it's my happy rope!" Anticipating a promised hayride, Andy jumps his happy rope clear across the apple orchard we are visiting, the very picture of energy, and exuberance in all its four-foot, 50-pound, never-take-a-nap glory. Like his brother before him, he devotes the last hour of every evening to racing back and forth across the house. Then he goes to bed, his energy reserves not a whit depleted, with a parting remark of the sort one would like to preserve in a bottle: "We have a wonderful life, don't we?"

Energy, William Blake said, is eternal delight. But Blake was wrong; energy is a youthful, and therefore transient and corruptible, delight. Eternal delight reveals itself not when we possess energy in natural abundance, but when our energy is depleted and then mysteriously renewed by a source outside ourselves.

This lesson came home to John and Andy during the World Series. As if it weren't wondrous enough to see their beloved Red Sox come back from a 3-0 deficit and win the pennant from the Yankees in a four-game streak, there was the near hallucinatory spectacle of the Sox recovering the world championship after 86 years, under a colossal red moon in full eclipse. Emblematic was Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling on the mound, bleeding from his foot like the Fisher king of Arthurian romance, after a makeshift procedure in which doctors used his own skin to hold a dislocated ankle tendon in place. Emblematic, too, was Curt Schilling at prayer in the dugout, and his postgame interview after game six of the ALCS did more than a legion of youth ministers, praise teams and high-octane catechists could do to make Christian faith compelling for young fans.

"Seven years ago I became a Christian, and tonight God did something amazing for me," Schilling said. "I tried to be as tough as I could and do it my way game one, and I think we all saw how that turned out. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do this alone. And I prayed as hard as I could. I didn't pray to get a win or to make great pitches. I just prayed for the strength to go out there tonight and compete, and he gave me that. I can't explain to you what a feeling it was to be out there and to feel what I felt."

One can hear the collective "harrumph": how naive, how breast-thumping, how jingoistic it all seems. But John and Andy understood Schilling's testimony. He was not claiming a peculiar divine privilege for the Bed Sox, but praying the prayer of a Christian: Lord, give me strength. …

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