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Blessed Are Those Who Limp

On Friday nights we often play games with our family as a part of our Sabbath.  It has become a thing in our neighborhood where the other kids show up as well to join in on the screen free fun.

Which I am regularly surprised by.

One game the kids love to play is Beat The Parents.

I’m pretty sure it’s a game that is designed to make kids cry…because the adults make a wager and the kids make a wager.

Then you answer questions designed for your group and then do physical challenges against one another.  Our kids always think they are going to win…but I was taught to never let a child win in a game so they know if they win, they really won.

This past Friday, one of the challenges was to act like you are jump roping in place and the last person to quit wins.  We started this challenge with all of us playing…then almost 30 minutes later, it was just me and the neighbor kid.  I was soaking wet with sweat, my legs were starting to wear out, and I did not want to lose.  But eventually I realized the calves of a 12 year old athlete can easily outlast a 41 year old former runner.  So after giving my best, I gave up.

Now, I’m not sure if you have ever pretended to jump rope in place for about 30 minutes…but I could barely walk on Saturday.

It was worse on Sunday.

And Monday when I woke up I was still limping around.  Every week day I get up and work out and part of my work out is 300 jump ropes.  I could barely waddle out to my garage, but I knew I had to do it.  I figured it might help.

I’m not going to say my jump roping on Monday healed me, but getting back up again, working through the pain, seemed to move me towards recovery.

Many of us have experienced hurt or pain.  We’ve pushed ourselves more than we should have and we are now limping because of it.  I think that because something was hard, does not mean we shouldn’t do it.

Because a season was rough, does not mean we should always avoid it.

Because we carry a wound or scar, does not mean we don’t get back up and try again.

Now obviously, some situations can legitimately be dangerous or destructive…but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I know this week, lots of people are gathering together.  Some of those relationships are good and the time will be meaningful.  Others have hesitation based on the last time you gathered.  You have fears about conversations at the dinner table or hosting family in your home or sleeping on the pull out couch in the guest room or playing Beat The Parents…I get it.

But what if we can reenter these times, these gatherings, even if we are limping a bit, with hope that it can be different.  What if we enter with grace and love.  What if we can be a non-anxious presence.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Blessed means congratulations or happy.

Peacemakers means brings peace, makes rest, initiates quiet.

Children of God means descendants of God, bearing God’s image, like God.

So this famous passage is more literally,

Congratulations to you who brings peace, because you reflect the image of God.

Happy are you who make rest in difficult places, you look like God.

When we step into this Thanksgiving week or during this Christmas season or in line at the store when someone cuts in front of you or with your neighbor when their holiday party gets too loud, being the one who initiates peace, who calms the storm and chaos, who is the non-anxious presence, we reflect God.

We are living out the teachings of Jesus.

And this way of life will not only bless you, but the world around you.

So let us bear witness to the love and peace of God in this world, so that those to whom love and peace are strangers will see the goodness of God in you and through you.

Don’t let the limp hold you back.

In the book of Genesis, Jacob wrestled with God and limped for the rest of his life.  After that encounter he not only limped, but God changed his name to Israel, which means “wrestles with God.”  That limp and his new name reminded him of being face to face with God…and how it changed not only him and his life, but the rest of the world.

Our limp doesn’t end our story, it’s part of it.

On a side note, the game ended with whoever could keep a card stuck to their forehead the longest.  I kept mine on my head for an hour and a half.  Long after everyone went home.  I even wore it on my head while I took a shower.  I’m not going to make a big deal out of this…but my team definitely won.

If you are in town this Sunday, November 19th I hope you will come to The Chapel for worship at 10am.  You will be blessed by hearing from Branden Campbell.  He’s preached several times in the past, he’s a local and involved in The Chapel, he’s a great guy…and he’ll probably make fun of my hair or pants…so that should be fun…

Also, mark your calendars, we will have Advent Devotional Guides that will take you from Sunday, December 3rd through Christmas Day.

Then on Christmas Eve we will have 3 services.  Since Christmas Eve is a Sunday we will have service at 10am, 4pm and 5:30pm.  All three services will be the same and will end in candlelight.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing you soon.