By Aaron Elder
In her poem “Promised Town,” Jessica Greenbaum writes, “You hoped your string of tickets would last all day, or someone’s parent, protectively wandering the Fund Fair, would buy you more because as it worked out, they cared for you. Those were the two hopes.”
We all live life like we have tickets at a fair. But we have options in how we use those tickets. Some are convinced it is only a matter of time until the rides falter. Lest they experience some tragedy, they look longingly but never ride. Some are concerned that others will steal their tickets. They protect them diligently, and even in the rides they choose their joy will be stunted, overshadowed by concern for thieves. For some it will become a competition to see who can obtain the most tickets. The comparison will consume them and they will experience nothing of the fair itself.
Friends, the infinite God created a world of beauty and adventure – he even became a man to ride the rides with us and rose from the dead to renew the fair he made. My observation is that I’m often so wrapped up in the tickets that I never ride! I figure that the more tickets I have, the more control I have over the fair’s economy. The more tickets I have, the more influence I have over which rides are good and bad and who gets to ride. And while everybody else is angry at my stingy selfishness, I’m congratulating myself on being a good steward.
Jesus came to blow the doors off the fair. He doled out tickets to those who couldn’t afford even one. He knew that no matter how many tickets those 5,000 took (and used), that he had a parent waiting at the Fund Fair to give him more.
What about me? Perhaps I’ve forgotten who built the fair in the first place. Perhaps instead of hoarding or gloating there is another way. Perhaps I can freely give my tickets away because the ticketmaster does likewise. And perhaps instead of simply being words on a page, I’d get to experience the reality that… as it works out, my father cares for me.