Sermon of the Week
The Wrong Answer: Scapegoats
Keywords: Electric Eel, Dolphin Splash, Customer Service, Repentance, Grace, Fig Tree in the Vineyard, Scapegoats.
Just a week or so ago, our family was in San Diego on a spring break vacation.
We had a delightful time:
The zoo is just glorious.
Some of you who golf asked me about Torrey Pines,
which we went to,
but not to check out the links.
We hiked some of the trails at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve,
sat on the beach and threw some stones into the Pacific.
We went to Sea World, because it is the best amusement park in San Diego.
To be fair, it is the ONLY amusement park in San Diego,
But it was nice enough:
We saw the Orka whale and the dolphin shows.
We avoided the “splash zone” seats
Because apparently when they say “splash zone,”
they mean it. And much of the show, apparently, is designed
to give the trainers joy as they instruct the dolphins to flip upside down
and use their tail fins to absolutely drench the audience.
We did other things, too.
Took in the penguins.
Rode the roller coasters.
They have this newer roller coaster called the Electric Eel.
You’re only on it for 45 seconds, but they’re a rather hectic 45 seconds.
The ride pushes you forward maybe 30 feet,
then pulls you backward through the loading platform and behind it maybe 30 feet,
then launches you at 60 miles an hour through the course
which goes way up 150 feet into the air, with a couple of inversions that go so slow
that I worried just a little bit about staying in my harness.
The kids loved it. We rode it twice.
I think it was that inversion that they particularly liked,
the corkscrew track that turns the car we were riding upside down,
before going into a drop and spin and,
just a few seconds later, the end of the ride.
These rides remind me that I’m not as young as I used to be.
But I’ve felt that way before, even when I was quite a bit younger,
mainly on the spinning rides that my kids have always loved.
There’s a merry-go-round at Oak Park Mall,
I think it is still there, though we’ve not been for ages.
We used to go and wait in line just to ride the spinners
which were these little cars that feel
like you were sitting in a round booth at a restaurant
with a small round disk in the middle where the table would be,
and when the merry-go-round started
you’d grab the round disk and start pulling on it,
and the little booth you were in started spinning
faster and faster and faster and faster
and soon our kids were laughing and giggling and having the greatest time
and I kept mummering under my breath “I can do this. I can do this.
Oh, Lord. I’m not as young as I used to be.”
Those things inspire a lot of prayer, I’m sure of it.
Maybe some of you can relate.
The disorientation from the spinning can be a cause of thrill and excitement,
to be sure,
but we need things more calm, more measured, in our daily lives.
We’re not built to withstand all that for too long.
I noticed lately that I’m feeling that unease of the world spinning
at other times, and other places.
I don’t need to be on a ride to feel it.
Maybe you can relate to that as well.
This week I had experienced a version of that sort of thing
That has stuck with me.
I was at the library, working at a table,
trying to do some reading and research for this sermon, actually. [Read more…]