God has a way of stretching us. In some surprising ways. Some of the stretching is painful beyond belief. A job loss. Unanswered prayers (at least they're not answered in the ways we want them answered!) The break up of a relationship. And other times the stretching is surprising... an easy blessing...that makes us smile and shake our heads in disbelief.
At our church we -like many- we have a mid week program. We call it TNT. Which sounds kind of silly and a little explosive. (TNT stands for "Trinity Night Together.") There is a meal...worship time...classes. One element every Wednesday night is an "open gym" for elementary age children. Kids from inside the church and outside the church (our church and neighborhood have sort of blended together so I'm not sure where each starts and stops).
Tonight I went into the gym to hang out with the kids. Those few minutes are a blast! Some of the 3rd and 4th grade girls turned to me and thrust a jump rope in my hand...asked me to swing it around so they could jump.
I had a basketball in one hand...I thought I was going into the gym to shoot hoops with the boys. But I swung the jump rope. And there was a lot of concentrated joy in that place...and it sort of soaked into me.
They don't tell you in seminary that you are going to end up playing jump rope with 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. It might be a good idea if they did. It might be a good idea if they told us that carrying a cross will be heart crushing on some days, but there will be moments when some little girl with pigtails will grab us by the arm and say, "Pastor Mark, hold the rope and swing it for us!"
I'd never -in all my years- really swung a jump rope like that. It felt a little...uh...different. But good.
God keeps teaching me new lessons. Some hard. And some delightfully easy.