The kids at Joshua Station have a favorite playground game. It’s called “Groundies”. I hate it. The kids always cheat—they are supposed to have their eyes closed when they are “it”—and I have this need to play by the rules or the game doesn’t seem fun. So what often happens is that I’m hitting my shin on playground equipment while the kids are doing acrobatics over the slides insisting their eyes were closed the whole time.
On one of the many nights that we played Groundies I found myself particularly frustrated. I couldn’t stand all the cheating, and I was making that fact very well known to everyone playing the game. The kids began to have a sour attitude toward me and Kids Club was taking a dramatic turn for the worst. That’s when my mistake-prone friend, St. Peter, came to mind.
Peter was praying on his roof when God suddenly spoke to him in a vision. Peter was hungry and God showed him several animals and told him to “kill and eat.” Peter was petrified. He refused to do it, because never had he dared to eat anything that was unclean! God then smashes Peter’s theology to bits by telling him not to call anything God has made unclean!
We find out that this vision was setting the stage for a group of visitors Peter was about to receive. They invited him into the home of a Gentile and Centurion. This was another example of something that Peter—a man devoted to God—could not do lest he break the sacred law! Moved (and confused) by his vision he accepted the invitation which led to a sacred encounter that would have been prevented had he followed the rules that felt so central to his beliefs.
I decided to take a page out of Peter’s story and dare to break the rules. I peeked along with the other kids. I joined them in their lawlessness and let go of my need to follow the rules of the game. The connection that we experienced as a group once I made that decision was truly beautiful. The kids felt safe. They felt accepted. They felt loved, all because God was inviting me—in the name of love—to cheat.
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