What one Illinois pastor (and Cubs fan) learned from the World Series
Emotions in Wrigleyville soared high in the late innings of Game 7. With a three run lead, coming off a blowout win in Game 6, victory seemed inevitable. But then, there’s the curse.
The night before, Aroldis Chapman had been controversially brought in to prevent any hope of a late game rally, and ensure there would be a Game 7. As Chapman took the mound, the Cubs were only four outs away from reversing the curse. And then it happened. Ramirez scored on Guyer’s double, then Rajai Davis’s two run homer tied the game, and as the rain began to fall one had to wonder if the heavens were weeping over the unshakable clutch of “the curse.”
In 1945 William Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field after complaints were made about the odor of his pet goat, Murphy. It was Game 4 of the World Series, and as Sianis and Murphy departed Wrigley, Sianis uttered the words; “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.”
The Cubs lost the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers beginning Major League Baseball’s longest championship drought and the legacy of the “Billy Goat Curse.” For the next seven decades, the Cubs would not even appear in a World Series.
The Bible, also, warns of a curse. It is a curse that came as the consequence of open rebellion against God (Genesis 3:14-19). It crushes all hope of victory. Our inability to tame our addictions and carry out what we know to be right creates endless cycles of crippling frustration, guilt, and shame.
But the “Curse of the Billy Goat, “it is no more. Ben Zobrist’s opposite field double off Bryan Shaw put the Cubs ahead for good in an 8-7 victory that clinched the World Series and crushed the curse for good.
But what about our curse? What can bring an end to the curse, its frustrations, guilt, and shame? When will we experience the catharsis of victory over sin? Perhaps, just as Ben Zobrist’s bat provided the answer to the Cub’s curse in Game 7, maybe his words can be the catalyst for deliverance and hope from the Curse of Sin:
In a 2013 interview with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Zobrist made the following statement, “We all need grace. We all need Christ. I still have a lot to learn about what the love of Christ is like. That it’s not just knowledge, but it’s allowing the truth to change you, allowing Christ’s message of grace and hope and love through the cross, that that message is the message that changes the way we look at everything in our lives.
The Apostle Paul said, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Now, for those who place faith in him, he has crushed the crushed the curse for good.
Major Dalton is pastor of First Baptist Church in Winthrop Harbor, IL.