Leap of Faith

Before you ask, the answer is No! I don’t possess the courage to do such a circus act as the flying trapeze. Just looking at the photo brings my heart to my mouth! Courage and artistic flair are combined with commitment and trust in the ability to pull this off. Certainly, as a child going to the circus when it rolled into town during the summer months was always a joy. Colorful clowns, obedient lions, galloping horses, swinging trapeze artists along with a live band, made the moment magical. Yes we have come a long way in our understanding of the clash between pure entertainment and the proper care of animals! Yet that childhood summer memory of the circus, is a good one.

The poet Scott Cairns has written an interesting poem entitled Trapeze Artist. Cairns taught contemporary American literature and creative writing at the University of Missouri for some 15 years and today teaches at Seattle Pacific University. His own faith journey is one of leaps from Baptist to Presbyterian to Christian Orthodox. His words stir the thought of that moment we sometimes refer to as a leap of faith – a stepping out, committing, trusting, yet unsure. Throughout the pages of the Bible there are many such moments, many leaps of faith. I’m sure you could name some. The leap of faith of Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Ruth. Zacchaeus leaping down from the tree when Jesus called his name, and of course the fishermen dropping their nets to follow. And then there is yourself. Perhaps not just one leap but many leaps of faith along life’s way and in the process some scraped knees and bruised ribs, so to speak!

Being a believer, and a follower, is not about certainty but rather more about curiosity. Discipleship is more about art than science. Take a moment to stand in awe of the trapeze artistic in Cairn’s poem and ponder the leaps of faith in your own life, not that they have ceased. Is life at its best lived in that moment between mere technique and the sudden thud of landing? I wonder?

Trapeze Artist
I like it best between
the moment
my hands let go the bar
and the rescue.
Everything up to that
is just technique,
everything after is disappointing.
Just as all rescues
are disappointing. I read once
where a lost man
hid from his rescuers for weeks,
running always
away from
the searchers’ shouts,
hiding among
underbrush, sometimes
an arm’s reach
from their boots. He’d lie there,
watch their boots turn,
hear their anxious voices calling out,
and wouldn’t
so much as breathe when their toes
pointed his direction.

Again tonight, I’ll do my usual
stretching, pull myself
steadily up the rope, regulate my breathing
in time with our
practical motion, and either take
my brother’s ankles,
or hesitate just enough to take the drop. Scott Cairns, Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems

Holy God
like so many before me
and for sure
so many after me
help me to live in my present moment
in my present time.
Grant me the courage I need
to trust your call.
Might today be one in which
I take yet again
one more leap of faith.
With this faith might I love
the world in which I am placed
with a love which makes
the impossible possible
which makes
hope within reach, for all.
Be present O Loving God
in this your world.
Be present O Loving God
in me. Amen.

One thought on “Leap of Faith

  1. Thanks Edward. I like the theme, and the line in your prayer: “to take ONCE AGAIN the leap of faith.” Amen to the call of faith, the call to new experiences.


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