I was sitting on my front porch yesterday evening watching the birds swoop from tree to tree in the cool evening breeze. I envied their ease and wondered what it must feel like to move so effortlessly through the air. And then I remembered one day in my fifth grade gym class.
Our gym teacher had us all scatter around the gym and then sit down on the floor. We told to close our eyes and imagine that the entire gym was filled floor to ceiling with Jello. Our teacher then put on some music, told us to open our eyes and instructed us to begin moving through the Jello. He invited us to imagine what it feels like to push off from the floor and glide effortlessly up to the ceiling or to do a somersault half way up in the air. He invited us to feel the rippling motion through the Jello of each other’s movements. After a few moments of awkward hesitancy we got up and begun what must have looked like a kind of slow motion dance. It did not take long before we all really got into it and I remember the fun of coming up to a classmate and slowly pushing through the air between us only to have her fall slowly with giggles to the floor.
I don’t know if our gym teacher had something in particular, he hoped that we would take from the experience, but looking back from this vantage point I see in him a bit of a theologian. For don’t we tend to think that the air around us is just empty space? Don’t we live with notion that if I wave my arm through the air, you won’t feel any effect of that on you even if we are just a few feet away. Don’t we tend to think that what I do affects only me and really doesn’t have any impact on you?
But what if it’s not empty space at all. What if the space between us in in fact full something akin to Jello? A cosmic energy of sorts that holds us all in its embrace? What if every thought, act, intention is not just ours alone, but in fact ripples out and over everything around us?
I am reading a book called “Walking Meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh and in it he says that every time we place our foot upon the earth it is an opportunity to bless the earth with our intention.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book “Life Together” urges his faith community to conceive of the space between them as infused with the very presence of Jesus. That Christ dwells in the space between us and is what holds us one to another as one body.
Would being able to see that change the way we interact with each other and the world?
Prayer: O God, let me feel the viscosity of the substance that fills the space between us. Help me to feel the power of your love there and help me in my thoughts, words and actions set that love in motion. Amen.