In the Lectionary

June 21, Ordinary 12A (Matthew 10:24–39)

Jesus keeps saying, “Do not be afraid.” But there’s so much to be afraid of.

Several years ago we took our vacation Bible school children on a field trip to a place called Pump It Up! I hadn’t known that such a place existed. At first I thought it must be some sort of a bodybuilding experience, but in truth it is a kind of gymnasium full of inflatable sports equipment, from bouncy slides to basketball courts, obstacle courses, and bounce houses. I witnessed children of all ages throwing themselves into the equipment, bouncing as high and as hard as they could, running back and forth between play stations with big smiles on their faces.

For about an hour, the children could play as hard as they wanted to, jump as high as they wanted to, with as much energy and enthusiasm as they could muster—without any danger of serious injury. Everything is bouncy—and padded. There aren’t any hard surfaces to run into. And for extra measure, there were a few spotters wandering around the area, making sure that everyone was following directions and that all of the landings were soft ones. Everyone played fearlessly—because they knew no matter what they did, they could not really get hurt.

I found myself thinking, Wouldn’t it be great if life could be this way? We could set to the tasks, the responsibilities, even the fun of our daily lives with no hesitations or fears, because we would know that our landings would be soft ones.