Jump, and Play

I don’t remember signing a waiver. We didn’t even think about it. 

But here I stood, braving gravity, surrounded by witnesses, ready to jump.

Our team of eleven was somewhere near the end of a year-long mission trip overseas. It had been a full year on every level, and we were looking forward to lunch on the beach. 

We had faced huge obstacles right out of the gate when most of the team showed up late due to funding gaps. Then when they arrived, we couldn’t find housing for them for several weeks. Months later, the Gulf War started, and we were told to “lay low” as this changed the way Americans were viewed in our country. We also had robberies, emergency room visits, and holidays spent away from family. 

Much like Kevin wrote about two weeks ago, our community served as witnesses to the hard times we all endured together. We looked at our stories and pain in new ways, pressing into grace and caring for the person, deepening our friendships and building our community. 

And like Cody shared last week, we invited each other to our “tables.” We had different roles during the year, but we also became brothers (or sisters) for each other. I gave and received equally and was blessed from all sides. 

But on this particular day, we went to the beach. And when I say beach, don’t think sandy and quiet, think 40 foot massive red islands bursting from the deep blue with waves swelling against its rugged walls. 

Clearly, some of our team were undaunted. Others stayed back with the picnic to cheer us on and take photos. As I stripped off my shirt and shoes, I could see other crazies leaping from the ledges. With the sun on our backs warming our courage, we climbed up these mini mountains and peered down into the taunting sea. 

And we jumped… and jumped again… and more of us jumped… from higher ledges, from the highest ledges… and we laughed… and we witnessed each other at play. For those hours, because we did it together, we shared an intimacy of play that is as unique as it is holy. 

I believe God wants us to play… together. There’s a sacredness to being seen as you hit four clay pigeons in a row. There’s a beauty in bonding when spraying snow over each other on a winter ski slope. There’s a purity in the play when we celebrate wipeouts on wakeboards. 

Play. Together. There are hundreds of moments where a waiver is not required, moments where the only requirement is each other and a rocky ledge above a churning sea, or maybe a ball, a mountain, a snowmobile, a fishing rod, a garden hose, a jumpy-castle, an off-road vehicle, a paintball gun, a fire pit or a ____________. You get to make it up… it’s part of playing. 

When did you last experience the grace of playing together? Remind someone of that today. 

And how can you create a space for you to witness each other at play? Invite someone into it.


Bart Lillie, Chief Catalyst