A Rocking Horse Connection!

Recently, we had a surprise visit from our son, Marc and our soon to be eighteen-year-old grandson, Ben. It was their second visit in just over a month. Since they live in Texas, it was a rare treat to have them with us at both Thanksgiving, and then again, a shorter two-day visit just after the new year to accompany me to the St. Louis Auto Show.

"Giddy Up, Cowboy!"
When Ben was here before Christmas, we caught him having a “rocking horse connection” and we laughed at the time. The old horse has complemented our family room, Texas décor, most of Ben’s childhood. I’m sure he can’t recall a time when it was not in its place in front of the French doors. During a second and recent time of connection, we were able to get a photo of him in a state of contemplation while looking at his cell phone. As you would imagine, his long legs were dangling down to the floor for support. In truth, he outgrew the old horse a long time ago!😃

We didn’t know nor did we ask what was on Ben’s mind. He is heading off to college this fall and will soon be out on his own. But I can imagine that several things may have been moving through his thought processes during that time on the horse: reflection about his future, a “trip down memory lane,” a specific connection with the past, or just a moment catching up with friends through a popular app on his smartphone.

Ben’s Dad, Marc, had a rocking horse when he was a kid and used to spend hours “riding it off into the sunset!” He would literally ride it until he’d fall asleep on it. He rode it so hard that we eventually had to change out the springs on it! What is it about movement that is both relaxing and therapeutic? It can take our minds off some stress and even promote creativity. I used to say that after Marc had spent some time in his basement “man cave rocking chair,” he’d get up,  move to his drawing table and complete an art assignment. It was usually his best work!

The Klaire Konnection! 😍
Movement influences us positively. Ask someone who deals with muscle tightness or has arthritis. We think moving around is the hardest thing to do, but it becomes the key to increased flexibility and better health. Some prefer going outside for a nature walk! Others are revived by 30 minutes of exercise on the treadmill! The opposite is true as well. If we remain inactive, our muscles atrophy and our joints get stiff and inflexible. I have found that movement positively impacts health!

Israel has had a rich tradition of connection with their past. Among the ten or so holidays on the Hebrew calendar, three of the most notable are Passover (Pesach), Weeks (Shavuot), and Booths (Sukkot). Since ancient times, these holidays have enriched the pilgrimages of God’s people to the Holy City, Jerusalem, for remembrance and celebration. Notice how these observances involved the spiritual, mental, and physical (movement) dimensions of each worshiper!

Christians today have the annual Christmas (Advent), and Easter (Lent) seasons. The impact of the Incarnation (God with us!) and the Cross (Jesus is Salvation!) are vivid and necessary times of connection for believers. Their meaning for today is forever linked to their existential significance in history.

But the most reoccurring commemoration is Communion or the Lord’s Supper. Whether observed weekly, monthly, quarterly or whenever, Jesus instructs His followers as they break the bread and drink from the cup to remember its symbolism, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me… This cup is the new covenant in my blood… do this… in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26, NIV).

Worship practices inspire and inform us. They get us moving toward God and to each other through weekly and seasonal expressions of worship. Their significance continues to connect us with the God who transcends time and space, history, and place! He “never changes” (Malachi 3:6) and “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8). As you face the uncertainties of the future, what will get you moving closer to the God of faithfulness and dependability? Perhaps a good old ride on a rocking horse (or in a rocking chair!) may just be the needed connection with your past, present, and future.

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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