August 9, 2011If you have ever been to the circus, you will see the trapeze artists who fly from swing to swing with great ease. The work of the trapeze artist is to let go of one swing while at the same time reaching out for the next swing, confident that it will be there to grab onto. The life of faith is a little like a trapeze life. We move through passages of life, sometimes holding on to something too long and too tightly to be free to reach for the next swing that carries us closer to home. Letting go and reaching out are the acts that give us forward movement in life. Without either swing, we go nowhere. So we are called in the spiritual life to a trapeze way of living, a way of reaching for the next swing, and the next, until we finish the course. My life as a pastor under appointment in the United Methodist Church is closed, that swing to which I closely hung and now have let go, has brought me to a new swing, a new opportunity, a new voice. As I begin this series of writings called "Trapeze Living," you will see that the new swing has a newfound freedom for reflection, evaluation, vision, dream and hope to be spoken. Perhaps this swing will be helpful to someone beginning the course, and to others for whom the course has become disappointing and disillusioning. My intention is to glorify God, to give thanks for the constant call upon my life and to praise the One who gives me the words. The church is changing before us. I knew it thirty years ago when I had a conversation with Ann Craig in the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries. We are in a reformation, the waves of which have been crashing on the shores of the church for years now. The change that has been sneaking up has given clues in lots of ways, none the least of which is the diminishing numbers of members in mainline denominations. Are we waking up to the change? Are we nimble enough to change? That remains to be seen. Here is what I know. God will find a way and a people to make God's ways known. We are called to listen, to trust, to love one another in the truth that surrounds us. The same Spirit that moved over the waters of creation still moves. The swing is right in front of us. All we have to do is let go and reach for it. Look for Trapeze Living and let's talk about how God is working to bring us life under the big top!