To Trust and Not Be Afraid by Christie S. Gravely Many years ago, when I was a sophomore at Presbyterian College, I volunteered at the local YMCA teaching children from the Thornwell Home how to swim. My students were three and four year olds—pure beginners—and not one of them had ever been in a pool before. Each Friday afternoon they would march into the pool area and sit in a line along the edge of the indoor pool. Cold and a little nervous, these children would clutch up and shiver—teeth chattering, lips purpled, and jaws clenched. It did not take long for me to realize that it is a law of nature that you cannot swim while cramping your body and gnashing your teeth. I had to carefully cajole each anxious child to slip off the edge of the pool and, holding them close, I would carry them gently into the water. As we went, we talked quietly. I tried to make them smile and ease them into relaxation. Along the way, I would dip down into the water, allowing them to feel the warmth of it and the flow of it across their skin. After a while, maybe in the third or fourth venture with me into the deep, I would hold them less and less as they began to feel the water buoying them up. Eventually, I could lay them on their backs and, holding my hands beneath them, get them to relax their knees, let loose the muscles in their necks, and slowly draw air into their lungs. When I would finally remove my hands they would panic, clutch up again, and start to sink. But sooner or later they would get the feel of what it was like to float and eventually roll over and start to swim. The first priority in teaching children to swim is to enable them to trust the water. Somehow or another they have to come to a specific kind of knowledge. In a deeply somatic, bodily way they must come to know—on their own—the buoyancy of the water. You cannot explain to children, or anyone else for that matter, buoyancy. Even the laws of physics cannot help us when learning to trust the water to hold us up. For the sake of swimming, we have to come to know it personally. So it is with the life of faith. At the heart of the Christian life there lies a deep, somatic, profoundly personal but very real knowledge. It is the knowledge of the buoyancy of God. It is the knowledge that, in struggle and in joy, in conflict and in peace—indeed, in every circumstance and condition of life and in death—we are upheld by God’s own everlasting arms. It is a deep and profound knowledge that infuses our minds and our hearts and even our bodies. It is knowledge that, as we come to know it more and more deeply over many years, will give form and substance to our entire lives, to our whole way of being in the world, to our very existence. It is the knowledge of the overflowing abundance of the grace and mercy and love of God. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2
Beginning June 8 we will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a house in Easley Brought to you on behalf of the Mission Committee Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. Psalm 66:5 But we need you! Whether you are... recruiting volunteers, reminding volunteers, painting, planting, plastering or putting on a roof, there is something for everyone. Dust off your work gloves and get ready for this exciting opportunity! This exciting project kicks off Saturday, June 8, with a dedication service on site, followed by the first day of work. The fun begins at 8:00 a.m.!! The address of the house is 109 Baker Court. It is close to the hospital. We will be working from 8:00 a.m. - Noon every Saturday until the home is complete. Anyone 16 years old and above is encouraged to sign up! Sign up in the glass hallway or on our church website for the Saturday(s) that you would like to work. If you have any questions, contact Leigh McManus (859-4220 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Sign Up Today!