Jesus the Trapeze Artist

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)