Losing Our Marbles

The old church was a monument to hardwood — the chairs, the floor, all polished to a mirror finish that amplified every squeak, footstep and whisper. It was an unlikely place in which to conduct academy chapel services. But every week, I joined 300 fellow students as we occupied those seats in various stages of attention. Some listened; some passed notes; others just passed out.

No one slept during the morning of the marbles. Several miscreants had surreptitiously slipped into the chapel and wedged marbles into the pages of the closed song books conveniently attached behind each chapel seat.

When the chapel bell rang, students streamed in from all directions and found their seats, while administrators took their dignified places on the platform. The principal stepped up to the podium, waited for quiet, then warmly welcomed the morning's guest speaker and announced the opening song. At that moment, the normal routine went rapidly out the window.

As students picked up their songbooks, hundreds of marbles began dropping like popcorn thunderclaps on the hardwood and began their inexorable roll down the sloping floor toward the front. Bedlam would be an accurately descriptive word for the next couple of minutes. In retrospect, I pity the poor guest speaker, for I remember nothing from his efforts to bring inspiration from chaos — all because we'd lost our marbles.

The world is in danger of losing its marbles. When the most prominent item in the news is the latest Lady Gaga outfit; when the CEO of a bankrupt corporation can retire with a billion-dollar bonus; when the pastor of a 50-member church can hold the world hostage with a foolish threat; when the trivial begins to consume our attention, we need to collectively hit the "pause" button and reconsider our priorities.

It's what Elijah had to do so many centuries ago. Fresh from a miracle on Mt. Carmel, he lost sight of the God of the miracle. Caught up in a political firestorm, he dropped his faith and ran far from the threats of an ungodly queen. There out on the edge of the wilderness, away from the noise of society, he paused, mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, in the opening of a cave. Finally quiet, he reconnected with the still, small voice of his Creator. In that encounter, Elijah once again found the wisdom of his God-ordained purpose and the will to follow it.

If you've been sucked in by the clatter and chaos of this world; if you're confused by how you fit into an increasingly polarized culture; if you need to regain your personal mission and calling, hit "pause."

That still, small Voice is still there.

"In retrospect, I pity the poor guest speaker, for I remember nothing from his efforts to bring inspiration from chaos — all because we'd lost our marbles."

November 01, 2010 / Let's Talk
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