Once upon a time we made up our own game
of ping pong that was not sophisticated
enough to earn the title of table tennis.
Beginning with timid swats across the
low net from green paddle to orange, the game
quickly became more aggressive after warm-ups.
Who was it that decided to serve three balls,
friends joining in and playing the white spheres
bouncing off the close walls and too low ceiling?
Eventually, the only rules were to
let loose and concentrate on the game.
Other balls were tossed in from the sidelines.
Five balls being played at once became a
thrilling team sport, especially challenging
when doubled over in laughter with friends.
At a particular time in life when
everything had changed that we knew, for that
hour or two we left stress behind, not adhering
to the rules of life someone else decided upon for us.
Honestly, it felt exhilarating to go all out…
To play fearlessly until we were breathless.
Some people outgrow childhood games like playing Jacks and climbing trees, hopscotch and kickball. They take seriously Paul’s admonition from I Corinthians 13:11 CEB
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child.
But now that I have become an adult, I’ve put an end to childish things.”
Certainly, there are many childish ways that are necessary to put away in order to function in society and follow the law of Jesus to love one another as I have loved you. It is good to put away disrespecting others, throwing oneself to the floor in tantrums, demanding only ice cream and cookies for supper, and considering oneself before everyone else.
Equally important, Jesus tells us that we must become like a little child in order to come to him. It can change life for the good when we take on certain childhood characteristics such as maintaining a curiosity about life, focusing on the beauty of nature, finding joy in kicking a ball and running to base (even if only watching from the sidelines), freely laughing, dancing, and being silly. Although earnest conversation is very necessary, life is too short to be in a serious state all of the time!
As the Season of Easter flows on, and the signs of spring continue to flower, may we move in ways that are life-giving to ourselves and to others. May we understand God’s plan to transform us, one soul at a time.
In God’s grace and peace, we pray for you and with you,
Rev. Marta Wheeler