Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Remember pinball machines?  They were always lots of fun.  Especially if the one you were playing had ramps and missions and lots of bumpers, slingshots, holes, and blinking lights.  (For example, check out the picture of the Flinstones Pinball Machine I found.  Oooohhhhh...pretty!) 

Pinball requires concentration.  You have to pay attention to where your ball is and where it might be going.  You have to time your flippers just right so you can aim and influence your ball's direction, while keeping it safe from the drain below.

It's engrossing.  One can become completely sucked into what they're doing.

Some enthusiastic players really get into their game.  Instead of simply pressing down the flipper buttons, they really jam them.  Sometimes throwing their body weight into the machine, hoping to save the ball from an untimely fate.  Nudging is ok, but if the machine senses too much manipulation, it has a defense mechanism.  "TILT."  Everything will shut down and force the ball down the drain.  The player then has to reset and start again.

There's a pretty well-known verse that says "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."  (Mark 12:30) That's an engrossing commandment.  Hard to get away from it.  To put it into practice, you really have to pay attention.  Aim your thoughts and actions, and try to complete the missions as they come.

But the verse that captured my attention is the one that comes before:  "Hear O Israel." (Mark 12:29).  I wonder sometimes if we get so engrossed in our pursuit of the commandment that we tune out the voice we're supposed to hear.  I have no doubt that God stands beside us, giving us helpful nudges as we go along.  But I also know that he's not afraid to give us a good hip-check when we need it.

It knocks us off our course, completely derailing our train of thought.  It might even mess with our current mission or high score.

But it quiets the din of the game and throws the reset button so we can hear him again.

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