A good sermon will set me off thinking, and this morning’s sermon by Laurie Hilditch did just that. He used the image of yachts racing in the Americas Cup to explain two concepts from physics – The Center of Gravity and The Center of Pressure – and then used these images to discuss the scripture readings. For Christians, the Center of Gravity is, of course, Christ, and the Center of Pressure are those aspects of life that can threaten to up-end us and destabilize the Center of Gravity. It was a timely reminder for me.
Moving from country to country is about as destabilizing as one can get. Once again, I am put into the vulnerable position of being unknown, and not knowing myself how the world works in that place. This is unnerving. It is easy for my sails to be blown so hard that capsizing would seem a great relief. So many assumptions are made about me (or by me), and they can be as hard to right as a steeply listing ship. Even coming back to my home country after 17 years away, I felt out of place and often misunderstood. But having a strong Center of Gravity has always pulled me through. Sometimes, though, I forget that He is there and need to be reminded that I am grounded in a rock-solid love that cannot be moved.
As a trained dancer, I have a great understanding for how important the Center of Gravity can be. If you are off your center, you cannot do many turns or hold a position for long. So to move the image along a little, life with Christ is like a cosmic Pas de Deux. The female partner has to do her dance with trained muscles and strong body movements, and when she goes off center, the male partner is there to gently move her back onto center so that she can continue to shine. (I realize that is a very sexist image, but Ballet is like that.)
Forgetting about God would be like trying to do the Pas de Deux alone, and stumbling all over the place – eventually falling on your face.
So where is your Center of Gravity? Or, at least, the one who helps you maintain your Center? Is it your spouse? Your friends? Your career? Your home? If all of those disappeared, would you be able to stand and say ‘I am fully alive’?
“The glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God.”
― Saint Irenaeus