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Running and Running and Running

As a child one of my favorite places to visit was the pet store.  In fact, I still like visiting the pet store.  I liked seeing the lineup of puppies and wish I could adopt them all.  I like looking at all the cats hoping that I never adopting any of them.  I like looking in the reptile habitats, the fish tanks, and the bird cages. 

 When I was a child in the pet store I really enjoyed visiting the hamster’s cage.  I liked it when one of those little critters would climb onto the “hamster wheel” expending all their energy running and running and running, without getting anywhere. 

I am not such a big fan of the hamster wheel anymore.  Now it reminds me too much of what we call life.  Everywhere I turn it seems that people are running and running and running, but they don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  They don’t have any destination in mind.  They just keep running and running and running. 

It seems that way in church, too.  We are running and running and running, but we are not sure where we’re going.  Sometimes we’re so busy trying to look, feel, and be religious that we actually end up missing God.  We run here and there, doing this and that, engaging one meeting after another, one program after program, and one event after another.  Sometimes it feels like we are on a hamster wheel. 

God help the people who actually try and challenge the system.  God help the people who say that the hamster wheel is not the way of life God intends.  God help the people who suggest that some things need to change, or that some things need to die. 

 When someone starts asking hard questions or dares to suggest that the system needs to change the anxiety levels begin to rise, tensions start to increase; and conflict begins to ensue.  We might not be getting anywhere fast.  We might not even know where we are going.  But at least we feel good that we are still moving.   And yet there is absolutely no correlation between following Jesus and following the hamster.  There is no value in engaging in activity simply to stay busy.  Beyond that it is just plain silly to keep running and running and running while having no idea where we are going. 

One of the things that we notice quickly about Jesus in the gospels is that he always had a direction for his life.  The course of his existence was and it always set toward a certain trajectory.  He never engages in activity seemly to look busy.  He always knows where he’s going, what he’s doing, and the type of impact he anticipate his life to have on the whole of humanity. 

Could it be that this thing we call the Christian life; this thing we call discipleship, this thing we call following Jesus, might actually mean that we get to climb off the hamster wheel and actually go somewhere?  Could it be that the Easter REBOOT we experience in Christ might mean that our lives and church can make a real difference in our world?

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