Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lent 10: Hopscotch

Hopscotch is the world’s favorite childhood playground game, according to a British study. Something about the coordination of tossing, jumping and landing appeals to children. It can be played alone or with others, on six to eleven squares. A stone is tossed. The player jumps to avoid the square with the marker. Variations of hopscotch are played in many cultures.

Some of us never outgrow the childhood need for such competition and control. We enjoy movement, the feeling of progress from place to place. We know what squares are in play, but don’t stay put for long. We chart out the course, toss a pebble, and hop from place to place. All within safe boundaries, of course.

Although the motion makes it look like we’re going somewhere, we turn to come back to the starting line before playing again. And again. We become champions at avoiding a marker or bouncing around inside the lines. And our friends cheer from the sidelines, rooting for us, shouting, “Don’t let us down!”

I wonder how Jesus’ friends felt when he left the safety of the game. What they said when he walked outside the boundaries of what they knew and expected. They stopped cheering and sharply criticized when he drew a bigger life, surprised by his skill and audacity.

During Lent, we celebrate the uniqueness of God living among us. Loving us without being limited by our little games and expectations. Jesus said he had come to give us life… and that more abundantly. Let’s push our self-limitations and amusements aside during this Lenten season to see how bountiful life can be with him as our friend and guide.


God's peace to you today!

"At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, 'Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the LORD your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don't you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the LORD, and he handed them over to you.

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.' … In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the LORD's help but turned only to his physicians. So he died in the forty-first year of his reign." 2 Chronicles 16:7–9, 12–13 NLT

*[Jesus] "But I tell you who hear Me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:27, 28, 35, 36 NIV

*[Paul] "And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again." Acts 20:22–25 NLT

*For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

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