Have you ever walked into a theater or maybe a line at the amusement park and there are these ropes, gently curving between poles? They guide you into a certain path and out of another. While quite useful in directing traffic, I think sometimes we intentionally and unintentionally create a box of theater ropes around ourselves. And, again, in many places that is not only normal but appropriate. It is the unspoken and spoken rules we live by in our world, the cultural laws that dictate how you address a stranger, how close you stand, what can you share and when it can be shared.
But, is there any place where those ropes should not exist? Someone mentioned that they always sit alone at church. And, I couldn’t help but think – of all the places to sit, that is one where you shouldn’t feel alone. Instead, you should feel surrounded by family and friends. Still, how many times does the very opposite occur. We sit in our little roped off box and hide from everyone else, as they hide from us. Can’t you just imagine it? A sanctuary full of people surrounded by little squares of velvet wrapped rope. It is an odd picture, one that might be used to make a media statement. Unfortunately, it is also a statement that is too often true.
So, how does that impact us? What do we do? Well, there are these little clasps at the end of the rope, connecting it to the pole. Just reach up and undo the clasp. Shake hands with the person next to you. Invite them into your square, and vice versa. The family of God should not need the surrounding of tiny squares, when we are directed to love each other as ourselves. If there is one place where we should be able to drop the ropes, it is here.
I challenge each of us to reach out to someone you sit next to, say hello, offer a smile. Don’t just go for someone new, but for the person who is sitting alone, the families, those who seem to have tons of friends. Let’s drop the theater ropes and see what happens.