Rock Wall Christians


Last week I took my children to a VBS Family Night at our church. It was a way to have some family fun as well as for the VBS leaders to build relationships with the families of some of our VBS team members who do not attend our church. We had pizza, inflatables and a 16ish feet tall rock wall.
My son had conquered the rock wall before we even ate dinner. My daughters, however, seemed content to run through the inflatable obstacle course. But then their friends started talking about reaching the top and they wanted in on the action.
My daughters are 5 years old, 43 inches tall and 45 pounds. In other words, tall and thin. They often try to climb the rock wall at the gym where I am a member, but they have never made it to the top. They like to climb about 4 feet up and then ride the cable back down. And then do it again! However, time was not a luxury they had this time. There was a line of about fifteen children behind us waiting for their turn. I was nervous I was about to have some upset little girls on my hands.
My first daughter started up the wall with no problems, until she got about 6 feet high. Then she froze. I could just reach her foot, but could not get her to follow my advice on how to move up. That is when it happened. A gentleman from our church with two daughters himself came by to cheer them on. He saw that she was stuck and coached her the rest of the way up until she pushed the buzzer and shouted “Look Mommy!”
Now it was my second daughter’s turn. She got about 3 feet up – and came back down. I gave her some encouragement and she was up again. But, again at about 3 feet, she stopped. The same gentleman came over to her and coached her up. She pushed the button with her hands shaking, but she did it!
As I thought back over the night, I realized that this was a beautiful illustration of how Christianity is supposed to be. Hebrews 12: 1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Not only did my daughters have the gentleman coaching them up the wall, but they also had a crowd of about 50 people cheering them on. A few were even using their names specifically. (That’s tricky with identical twins!) It was so beautiful to see my daughters being encouraged by such a group of people who love them. I know that my children have an even larger audience of Christians who love them and will continue to encourage them throughout their entire life. They also have a “cloud of witnesses” in Heaven cheering them on through their Christian walk.
This is what Christianity should be. Our entire country has mourned with the church shootings in Charleston last week. However, as the Christian community, we should feel it even deeper. These are our brothers and sisters, whether we have ever actually met them or not. My church honored them this past Sunday with a bouquet, a moment of silence and a prayer time for the physical families and the church family of the victims. Bouquets were also sent to our local AME churches, signifying our unity with them. We are one family.
Wednesday at about lunch time I was in the gym. I typically exercise with music in my earbuds or while talking to my sweet friend, not paying attention to the bank of TVs. However, on Wednesday, I had neither one. I was captured by the images of the funeral procession for the pastor of the church in Charleston. His casket was on a horse drawn carriage being pulled by white horses. The image stopped me in my tracks. I was mesmerized. Maybe this image made it a reality for me.
I wept. Right there in the middle of the gym, I wept. Thinking about this pastor reminded me again of the Hebrews passage earlier. I am sure this pastor was a Rock Wall Christian. The reports about him I have read describe him as a coach. An encourager. A Rock Wall Christian. A huge loss to the Christian community. However, he is now a part of the Heavenly cheering section, that great cloud of witnesses. I can almost hear him. He is asking us to unify, not separate over this. He is calling all of us to also be Rock Wall Christians.


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