Saturday, May 09, 2009

Passing Her Up

We have just returned from Pepperdine where one of the treats is the few thousand folks singing a capella in the fieldhouse at the evening keynote. The fieldhouse at Pepperdine is a standard college gym with wooden bleachers on two sides and a wide main floor. During the evening events, it is common for folks to come in at various times between the hour-long pre-keynote singing session, or during the keynote hour, while the crowd continues to sing much like a church service. It was during this period of singing that a few middle-aged and older women came in, and having decided where they were going to sit, turned into the bleachers below me and headed up.

One of these ladies had some not inconsiderable trouble with one of her legs - it just didn't seem to want to lift her foot over the next higher bleacher level. Her foot would hit the seat and she would resort to climbing the bleachers on all fours. It didn't take her long to reach my fourth or fifth-level and I reached out my hand to help steady her. She grabbed hold, seemingly appreciatively, and continued to wrestle that foot further up. I was able to help her to the next level, and when my arm had reached its limit, another hand came from above me, took her arm, and helped her further. And then another, and another until she reached her friends. All of this seemed spontaneous, as though helping this lady was the most natural thing for this now cooperating organism of multiple people. It seemed and still does seem that we could not have not helped her with her climb.

It seems that this is exactly the sort of organism into which the church is called to transform. What might happen if we simply instinctively reached out to help each other with our climbs, passing one another and being passed up closer to our God? All too often we are too busy or too disinterested or too distracted to help one another. Sometimes we want to question whether someone needs our help and ever so slightly our defenses come up to keep us from being taken advantage of; of being made the patsy. This kind of living that remains unaware or uninterested in the troubles of others keeps us from simply and beautifully reacting as one for the sake of one.

Do you instinctively reach out to help others or do you question their legitimate need? What might your world look like if we could lose the tendency to protect self and simply aid others?

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