J Walking

In the fall of 1986 I was a college freshman away on some spiritual retreat. I had chosen God over the New York Mets because there weren’t any TVs around the weekend retreat and my beloved Mets were in the World Series. To make matters worse, I was attending college in Boston, home of the Red Sox who were opposing the Mets.One evening – I think it was a Saturday evening – I returned to the house where I was staying to catch the end of game six. The Mets were trailing – badly. The pastor and his wife were huge Red Sox fans and left me alone to watch in misery as they went upstairs to celebrate by doing God knows what.Down to their final strike, the Mets battled back, one hit and another and another and a wild pitch and the game was tied. I was jumping up and down. Upstairs there was pastoral silence. Then there came a little ground ball headed towards first. It was a sure out. But then it was passed the first baseman and the Mets one and upstairs I heard banging and shouts and, perhaps, weeping and gnashing of teeth.The first baseman, as we all know, was a man named Bill Buckner and he became a living joke for years and years. “You pulled a Buckner” became a real phrase of ridicule.Today, however, “You pulled a Buckner” means something very different – a phrase of redemption. Watch as Bill Buckner returned to Fenway Park in Boston to throw out the first pitch and watch what redemption. It is hard to see his walk amidst the great applause and not think of the great Biblical images of the prodigal son returning home and the image that all of heaven rejoices when one person decides to walk with Jesus. And it is hard not to imagine what our own walk will look like one day – a walk into the arms of God.

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