As kids, we got a ball stuck in a tree...not just any tree, the worst tree. It was probably 40 feet tall and the branches started about 30 feet from the ground. There was no way to climb the tree, so we had my dad help us lasso the tree near the branches. Our thinking was that we could pull the rope and make the tree sway enough to jostle the ball loose. Dad got on the far end of the rope and all the kids lined up in front of him in tug-of-war formation. On the count of three, we pulled as hard as we could. The tree barely moved and the first few kids in line got lifted into the air. Suddenly, we had a new game. We took turns holding onto the rope for dear life while it was pulled tight flinging us into the air. The key was to hold on with everything you had so when the rope went tight you wouldn’t let go and drop 20 feet to the ground. We played the “rope game” (not very creative name, but it stuck) for what seemed like hours. Truth be told, I don’t remember if the ball ever came down.
I’ve had similar experiences throughout my life and life with God--I think I’m going after the ball only to find out that there is a whole new thing to discover in the process. Before he was crucified, Jesus told his disciples that they should continue on the “way” he showed them and that he was going ahead to prepare for them and would meet them along the way. They, of course, had no idea what he was talking about. They were so concerned about where they were going that they couldn’t hear Jesus saying that “the way” was more important than the where. Jesus had the destination taken care of. His concern was that they be willing to engage life on the way until he came back to meet them.
Come play the rope game with me. We know how this story ends, why don’t we be the church that milks the journey for all it’s worth. Let’s do life together and enjoy all the surprises and side tracks along the way--together. I can’t think of a better way to honor Jesus and grow in relationship with God and each other.