Friday, March 4, 2011
Blog # 128 The Bowling Game 1
Blog # 128 The Bowling Game 1 At the time one of my nieces achieved a perfect score in a bowling game it occurred to me to view the Christian life /experience like a bowling game. Jesus used to do something like this using wheat fields fishing nets seed being sown in a field and other experiences that were familiar to those to whom He was speaking. A bowling game became my field and fishing net. I hope it will be for you an ongoing invitation to grow in holiness and faithfully persevere until the end of your 'game'. Here is the way the parable goes. The Kingdom of Heaven, the Christian life and experience, where God is present by faith, sought by hope , and discovered by love, , is like a bowling game. First you have a bowling alley. It is intelligently designed and structured precisely for the game of bowling. There is an open space or gutter at both sides of the alley. Next you have ten pins set in a particular order to form a triangle as one end of the alley. Then you have a large ball with holes drilled into it fitted to your particular fingers to permit you to hold it comfortably and accurately. The object of the game is to knock down the pins. The rules of the game call for ten sections or 'frames' in which each player has two chances to knock down the pins. A perfect game is indicated by a perfect score of 300. Often when Jesus was giving one of His parables His disciples or someone in the crown around Him asked Him to clarify the meaning of the parable for them. They knew He was not talking about wheat talents or fish, though He was talking about wheat talents or fish. There was more to what He was saying than the sounds of it. The words would have to be enriched and applied to their individual unique everyday experienceof life. So it is with the parable of the bowling game. And so... The alley can be taken at one time as creation itself, the whole if it, or at other times on a smaller scale our individual personal unique lives. Both are intelligently designed and structured for a specific purpose. All creation, from the largest star to you and me was intelligently designed and structured by a single Creator. Therefore the meaning and purpose of all that EXISTS is found in God. And since God is Love, ( 1 Jn 4: 8, 16) the meaning of the whole of creation can be found in love. LOVE is the object of the GAME OF LIFE, just as knocking down the pins is the object of the game of bowling. Created as we are, uniquely and personally in the image of God, we are capable of understanding and realizing this in a unique personal way. Jesus told us this when someone asked Him what is the first of all the Commandments. It is to love God with our whole heart mind and strength. A similar question can be asked of bowling. What can stop us from a perfect game? The ten pins. The very same realities that in response to our skill create a victory, in response to a lesser skill create a failure! A champion bowler knows each of the pins by name, from one to ten. And he or she has learned by observation and talking to other bowlers, by practice and even through error perhaps that if he or she perseveres in his or her desire all the pins can be knocked down together with a single roll of the ball. A perfect game can be achieved! In this, bowling is different from other games we play such as football baseball and soccor. There is no such thing as a perfect game of football. YOUR perfect game, yes, but not a perfect game of football. You can lose a game of football with a score of 46 and can win a game of football with a score of 7. There is no absolute standard for determining a perfect football game. In bowling this is not the case. Knock down all the pins and you have a perfect game of bowling. And only then. The same question that came with bowling comes with the 'game' of life. What can stop or hinder us from achieving a 'score' of perfect love in our 'game' of life? As with the ten pins in a bowling game, we can name the obstacles in our personal lives that prevent or diminish our ability to experience perfect love. Our sins, moral weaknesses, procrastination, excuses, temptation or lack of awareness are among the 'pins' that can be identified as standing in the way of achieving perfect love. (cf. Romans 8: 35, 39). Blog # 129, The Bowling Game 2 comes with a few more insights tomorrow.