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thoughts after jumping off a building

"What if it doesn't hold me?"

I didn't ask it out loud, but this was the question bouncing around my brain as I stood on top of the Fraser building a week ago, with the wind whipping furiously, my toes on the ledge, and my heels hanging off the edge. I stood there thirteen stories up, with a tangle of ropes and equipment attached both to me and, by an intricate web, to a network of pulleys and structures all intended to keep me completely safe. I listened carefully, with the wind whistling through the holes in my helmet, as my instructor said, "now just lean back, and it will hold you."

Yeah, but what if it doesn't?!?

This "what if" question has a great deal to do with trust. I recognize this question from my life. I find myself asking it, sometimes unconsciously, about all sorts of things. What if my kids get hurt? What if my loved one gets really sick? What if our safety net isn't substantial enough? What if we can't afford this thing we need?

And, to be honest, I find myself asking this "what if" question quite a bit in relationship to the United Methodist denomination, and to my own church, too. What if the denomination splits and fractures? What if people leave our faith community? What if we forget our call to be the Body of Christ, with all of our uniqueness and diversity? What if we cannot continue to be what we have been?

With the cold wind pressing in close, and the gathered spectators below looking very distant and small, I did what my instructor invited me to do last week: I leaned into it. I just trusted. I gave up my own sense of security, and fell backward into the unknown. Of course, the ropes held me, and did their job beautifully. Not only was I safe and sound, but I was sparkling with joy and excitement, as I rappelled down the side of the building. What a feeling! What a wonderful experience, and one I wouldn't have enjoyed if I couldn't have leaned into it with trust.

I wonder what this means for us, in our own lives, in my denomination, and in my own church, during this moment in our history. I wonder if we will be paralyzed by our what-if's and our anxiety about scarcity, or if we will find some brave ways to lean into a new season with trust. I wonder what it might look like for us to choose to trust the God who provides and supplies and makes our cups overflow. I wonder, what if we were to lean into something new with courage? What if we can soar like we never imagined? And what if we don't try at all?

Prayer: God of the great adventure, help us to see how you are calling us to new things, and to opportunities that we can only realize when we choose to trust you. Help us, as your people, to lean into your provision, your call, and your invitation. Help us to soar, free from the burdens of scarcity and fear. Help us to trust you more, we pray, in Jesus' name, Amen.


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