It was a beautiful fall evening, many years ago. I was little and the world was full of beauty and adventure. Having had pizza for dinner, my dad and I went out for a walk. Maybe it was a Friday, and we were celebrating. Or maybe walking off the pizza. Maybe we were just in a good mood. We began to kind of run down the hill. He took me by both hands and swung me out over a small valley (big ditch) and I was soaring. Trusting him, and experience, I had no fear, only joy! I was flying, free, weightless.
Ah, but, you already know what’s coming. We’d had pizza for dinner. Our hands began to slip, and I was really, really soaring. It was exhilarating! Until I saw my dad’s face. He knew what gravity had in store for me. I looked into his eyes and saw something entirely new, fear. Like the roadrunner, I seemed to hang in mid-air for a moment before dropping. I hit the ground, and as only children can do, bounced up quickly, unhurt, trying to reassure both of us, “I’m ok. I’m ok. I’m ok.”
I had discovered gravity. It’s easy to focus on the negatives of gravity, not so much the falling, but the landing that hurts. And yet, gravity is good, necessary, life-giving. It keeps us spinning around the sun and rooted the planet, helps rainwater reach the plants, and as a bonus, it makes washing your hair easier. Just look at what it takes to wash your hair on the Space Station. But as John Mayer sings, “twice as much ain’t twice as good, And can’t sustain like one half could, It’s wanting more that’s gonna send me to my knees”
We’re entering a new sermon series this Sunday, Defying Gravity. For the rest of October, we’ll be looking at the things in life that both give life and joy but also threaten to burden us. We’re looking for the sweet spot where we might soar, held by grace, defying gravity. But to defy something, you have to know what it is. So this Sunday, we’ll be looking at the things that are necessary for life, but that too much or too little can be dangerous.
Obviously, I’m ok after my exploration of physics and gravity, but I think my dad might be a little traumatized still. So as we learn to defy gravity together, let’s remember sometimes we fall. And as we get up, or help one another back up, let us learn from it and reassure one another, “we’re ok. we’re ok. we’re ok.”
I’ll see you on Sunday,