The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, the Bishop over the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, is blogging about his experience at this decade’s Anglican Lambeth Conference.
A couple days ago, he wrote this, and I think it is just about my favorite quote so far:
Speaking of Faith” on NPR and the topic was “Play, Spirit, and Character” and the importance of play to good human development. Krista Tippett interviewed play researcher Stuart Brown. The point was made that in real play risk needs to be possible in order for us to realize our abilities and potential, particularly for children to learn.
I must say I awaken to think, â€œOh boy, Bible study!â€ (Really!) Each day has brought new learnings from my brothers (the boysâ€™ club), the study guide, and of course, the Scripture itself.
Whenever we delve into Scripture, we put ourselves at risk if we take seriously the lessons for life and love that God brings to us through the written Word of God. If we move within Scripture for the purpose of learning, changing, growing in wisdom rather than attempting to find proofs or justifications for what we already believe or want to believe, the cannot help but be made into a new creation. In the lessons for tomorrow, Jesus keeps saying, “The kingdom of God is like…” We will not move from the confusion of parable to the realization of God’s lesson unless we are will to risk, willing to play with this thing called “life in the Kingdom of God.”
This is not frivolous – all one needs to do is watch children play can be a very determined endeavor. Kids can be dead serious in their joyful play. So should we. Bishop Whalon – read again what he wrote and realize what joyfulness is present. He is playing for his benefit, for the benefit of those in his bible study group, and for us all in the Church.
How better to approach God, our Father in Heaven, with a joyful playfulness. For those who have had bad fathers or no fathers, this may be difficult to accept/understand, but the Father we have in heaven is as a father should be (as much as fallible, human fathers can be)! After all, Jesus said that we must be like the children if we are to realize the Kingdom of God. ” The Kingdom of God is like…”
My prayer is that we WILL has such an attitude (I didn’t use the word CAN, because all can if only we are willing). I pray we all can wake up in the morning and say, “Oh Boy…” bible study… or worship… or discipleship… or feeding the hungry… or being a witness for the sake of our friends and co-workers that do not know the love of God.
The Kingdom of God is like children playing in free revelry. Are we willing to take such a risk? A risk for the sake of the world and our own souls.
I must confess that I’ve lost much of this playfulness. I’ve actually thought a lot about this of late. I’ve come to live in my head and am far too serious, far too busy for my own good. I’ve always been a serious kind of person, but before seminary, before the battles that are tearing the Church apart, I was able to have balance and simply have fun. I recognize that to a great degree I’ve lost that. I need to get it back.