As of a half hour ago, I had no ideas for a Messenger article.  In situations like this, when I’m looking for inspiration, I allow my mind to free-associate, letting my eyes take in everything around me and trying to look at each object or person I see in a new way.  So, I was driving up Lake Avenue, scanning the Arco station which I pass at least twice every day, and my mind said “Service Station.”  Drivers are pumping gas into their cars so they can have the energy to go another couple of hundred miles more; then they’ll have to stop at a service station again to refuel for another couple of hundred miles, etc., etc.  They’ll do this until either they or their car dies.

I realized that there are other drivers (still the small minority) who are plugging in to wall sockets to juice up their electric cars for a day of travel.  My mind went to other possible alternative fuels.  I don’t think anyone has figured out how to make solar or wind energy work for cars.  Hydroelectric is impractical, because you’d have to tow a trailer with a waterfall on it.  And nuclear – I tried not to think about it.  Then it occurred to me that there is really only one source of physical energy on earth, and that is THE SUN.  Green plants are the experts at trapping sunlight and storing its energy.  We eat them to get our own energy for living.  When plants die and natural forces operate on them, they are transformed into “fossil fuels” – coal, gas and oil, which we burn to heat our houses, light our light bulbs and propel our cars.  I won’t go into the science, but wind energy, geothermal energy and nuclear energy all originate with energy that comes to earth from the sun.*  All the physical energy we experience on earth comes from THE SUN.

And all the spiritual energy we experience on earth comes from THE SON!  The author of the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews puts it this way:

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very   being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.  (Hebrews 1:1-3)

I’m particularly struck by the clause, “he sustains all things by his powerful word.”  This speaks of infinite stored spiritual energy.

How did my mind connect the Arco station to this lofty view of Jesus?  Well, I saw this parallel:  As we travel through life, we need to refuel spiritually.  The most obvious way this happens is in our attendance at worship services (“Service Station,” get it?) and in our regular prayer life.  Each time we consciously interact with God, we are re-energized for the next phase of our journey.

But I saw something even more profound and encouraging.  If it is true that all spiritual energy comes from THE SON, then everything good that happens to me, every encouraging word from a friend, even a smile from a stranger, really had its origin in THE SON.  These are all Service Stations along the road I’m traveling.  The energy may come in a variety of forms – a lighthearted TV program that lifts my spirits, the discovery of a difficult word in a crossword puzzle, a successful new recipe Judy makes for dinner – but their source is somehow, no matter how indirectly, THE SON.

So people who spontaneously say “Thank you, Jesus!” when they win five bucks on a Lotto ticket may be on to something.

* Before all my science geek friends jump on me, I’m aware that it can be argued that geothermal and nuclear energy originated in the Big Bang, before the sun existed.  I’m also aware that some miniscule percentage of energy comes to earth from starlight.  So, you guys can amend my statement to virtually all.”

— Pastor George Van Alstine