Parish the Thought: Centered in Church
It’s a good thing God built kids low to the ground. I recently read an article by Pete James, pastor of Vienna Presbyterian Church in Virginia and was reminded of the merry-go-round on the Blankner Elementary School playground.
Recess was the best part of the day. The line of kids marched single file down the hall, but where the pavement ended, the running began as we scattered across the shaded field to swings, a game of kick-ball, monkey bars and the merry-go-round. There were six upside down U-shaped bars people could push to make that thing spin like a top. Kids would grab hold of one of those bars and run like crazy and then try to hop on; but it was like trying to jump on a galloping horse and most of the time we fell off. Even with skinned knees and elbows we would jump up and try it again. If merry-go-rounds haven’t been banned from playgrounds, I bet to ride one a kid has to have protective head gear, knee pads and a signed liability release form.
But what a ride it was if you could hop on that whirling dervish. The hardest place to try and stay on was at the edge, on the circumference, where the centrifugal force tried with all its might to fling you off and out into playground oblivion. If you could pull yourself hand over hand along the bar leading to the middle of the merry-go-round, you could actually stand there with no ill-effect. Only there was some degree of equilibrium found.
“The faster we go in life, the more we need to find the center,” Pete James stated. As the merry-go-round of living spins madly out of control, move to the center. “Live in me. Make your home in me as I do in you,” Jesus says. That’s the center. That’s where some degree of equilibrium can be found even while everything else is whirling and swirling and at times hurling us onto the rugged gravel. It’s there, dizzy, scraped up and bruised, that we need playmates to help us up, brush us off, get us back on and moving toward the center again.
Maybe every wildly spinning-out-of-control, merry-go-round life needs a church gathered round to help it up, brush it off, and move it toward the center again.