Monday, October 19, 2009

Circle Games

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’" Matthew 11:16-17

When our girls were young and were visiting with my parents, there was this inevitable pull to the circle games. Their town has a large circle which is beautifully landscaped now and where people picnic and play games. Then it wasn't well landscaped but there were always games. On Saturday nights during the summer a small group of volunteers from the community hosted games for children that included sack races, egg and spoon races, tug of war and the like. There were ribbons for the winners and a small trophy for the child who won the most ribbons. My girls were not top athletes and rarely won blue ribbons. Sometimes they didn't win any ribbons. Sometimes it was hard to watch as they did their best and it wasn't enough. Often my heart ached when, in their frustration, they fell out in tears coming home with no ribbons and total despair. I would suggest foolishly that the next time they forego the circle games. They would inevitably beg to go the next week. No matter how challenging it was for them, they still wanted to participate, they still wanted to try. They wanted to jump in, they wanted to live with an undying faith that sometime soon they would get better at the games. Sometime soon they would have some blue ribbons.

The people who listened to Jesus were not willing to jump in. Whether afraid or cautious or just jaded by life, they saw Jesus offering healing and transformation and would not move towards life. Their candles were burned out and they refused to act on the little faith they might keep hidden inside of them.

This Monday morning, I am all too aware of how easy it is to stop jumping in and how easy it is to stop trying. After the hurts a world can dish out, many of us are reluctant participants. Today, I want to remember that Jesus is inviting us to act on the little faith we might have left after all the bumps and scrapes of life. Jesus knows the humanity and cruelty of the world. And yet he offers Gods love in abundance to all of us. We might be reluctant and fearful but God is never reluctant to love and heal us. God has limitless healing and renewal for us all. God has an unlimited supply of blue ribbons. May we have the courage today to enter in and open our hearts anew to God's healing and transformation. May we act like trusting joyous children who know they are truly loved.

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