"God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world."
~ John 3:17
Pendulums are interesting things. As a child I remember going to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis and watching a pendulum freely swing in the middle of a large rotunda. Attached to the top of the dome, I would stand and watch as it freely flowed, and then knocked down pins that were set up in a circular pattern on the floor to demonstrate how the earth continued to rotate, as the pendulum moved back and forth.
Pendulums also mark change. In society, the "swinging of" a pendulum from one point to the next, often marks societal changes or events.
In the history of Jesus, some might point to Jesus turning the tables over in the Temple as a time when the pendulum was pushed to it's absolute greatest point, where it had no further place to go, unless there was change.
For some, this view of Jesus makes them uncomfortable. For others, they see him taking the reins of justice and declaring a need for change. For a few, they don't want to believe that Jesus ever got angry. Some say, "It doesn't effect me, why should it bother me when I read it?" And then there are some that sit back and simply say, "It's just part of God's plan."
There is a pendulum swinging in the world right now that seems to be pushed to the farthest extent, and the very material that keeps the pendulum from flying beyond it's pattern seems to be fraying.
Jesus reminds us that he came into the world, "Not to condemn the world, but to save the world."
Pendulums must swing, and people must change.
I have never been an advocate for violence, and I have to admit, I struggle at times not to want to be vengeful when someone has done harm to me or those I love. The Holy Spirit is our own personal pendulum within us that moves us. It doesn't protect us from our feelings, but will often prevent us from going in a direction that will cause us and others harm.
I guess about now I am struggling with both the personal and communal pendulum when I see the events that are taking place in our world right now. I know that I am uneasy about seeing people being murdered, businesses being burned, and brothers and sisters with their own pendulums being pushed to the limit. I have prayed and cried. I have responded in anger, and compassion. I have celebrated Jesus turning the tables over, revealing injustices, while realizing the pain inflicted.
Pendulums are interesting. Pendulums always seem to know where the center is, and yet, they continue to search for the greatest distance they can travel without breaking that which holds them in place. We seem know a lot about this feeling about now.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.