On strip roads. Bulawayo to Wankie. On “the Falls Road” Mom driving. My great uncle from New Zealand with us. Half way house. Dusty. The car not going well near Wankie as we pass a notice warning about elephants. Exciting. Arriving in Wankie. The car needs fixing. Staying at the hotel in Wankie and waiting for a part to come for the car. Car fixed. On to the Falls. Seeing the spray from the falls – “the smoke that thunders”. Trying unsuccessfully to catch a tiger fish from the bank in the Zambezi just above the falls. Rod way too small. Then, back on the strips. Going home. But first have to cross an angry swollen river using a low bridge with no side rails. Mom will not drive over the bridge. She asks a chap who turned up in a truck, to drive our car across. He does. Home at last. What an African adventure for a nine year old.
What have Jesus and a trapeze artist got in common? As it turns out – plenty!
The idea for writing this post came to me while reading a story about the late Henri Nouwen (1932-1996). Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian.
In the last year of his life, Nouwen took a sabbatical during which he got to know trapeze artists at a circus. As we know, in the trapeze world, the “flyer” flies through the air and is caught by the “catcher”. Nouwen learnt that the catcher is the most important member of the team.
When the flyer lets go the trapeze and flies triple somersaulting through the air high above the circus ring, only the catcher can save the flyer from a potentially fatal fall, even with a net. The flyer’s world is a blur as she spins towards the swinging catcher. And then with a puff of magnesium dry powder the catcher’s hands lock onto the wrists of the flyer. The audience gasps with relief. All is well. The flyer is safe. Immediately the applause of the audience thunders around the circus tent.
So, why is Jesus a trapeze artist? What role does He play? Consider this:
One day all of us will pass away. This is one of life’s absolute certainties. What will happen to us then? Will we just cease to exist? Will we perish? Will we spin away into the eternal void of nothingness. Questions. Questions. Questions.
Jesus has an answer for each one of us. Listen to what He has to say:
“One day you will be the flyer. You will fly out of existence as you now know it. But, you need not fly into oblivion. You need not perish, If you believe and trust in me I promise to be your catcher. I will catch you as you fly. You will not perish but have everlasting life. I promise to catch you. Nothing can snatch you out of my hands. You will be safe and dwell with me forever. This I promise.“
To God be the glory.
Refs: John 3:16; John 14:2; John 10:28: Psalm 23.
For the story of how Nouen met the trapeze artists see “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg – page 36 on Kindle (Zondervan)
This is a repeat post. I am repeating it because of the number of people who have looked at it. I hope Kalidasa’s poem helps you as it has helped me. John 7 October 2021
No, this is not a recently discovered painting by Turner! It is a photo taken by our friend, artist Professor Estelle Marais. The picture is of sunrise over the harbour in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on 7 June 2020.
Silhouetted against the rising sun is a harbour crane, affectionately described by Estelle as “The Harbour Giraffe walking into the sun this morning”.
Estelle always finds the welcoming dawn encouraging and inspiring.
This wonderful photograph is a powerful reminder of Kalidasa’s greatly loved poem “Look to this Day”:
Scroll down below the picture to read the famous poem:
Look to this day: For it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course Lie all the verities and realities of your existence. The bliss of growth, The glory of action, The splendour of achievement Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream And tomorrow is only a vision; And today well-lived, makes Yesterday a dream of happiness And every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day; Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!