Vandalia United Methodist Church

Pastor's Perspective

May 5 is "National Fly a Kite Day". Kite flying is a rite of childhood. I can still remember my "Batman" kite, with a long black tail that ended with a batarang flourish. I could never get the kite aloft enough to really fly, though; perhaps that batarang device was to blame.

Kites were invented by the Chinese, almost 200 years before Jesus. They were invented for military purposes, allowing generals to communicate safely with soldiers stationed across a vast field of warfare. Kites were also useful to measure wind speeds, and to spook the enemy (they were often disguised as large birds of prey).

But gradually the kite came to a greater purpose, entertaining children. Marco Polo brought back news of the kite to Italy after his journeys to China. By the 1600's there are images of children playing with kites. Today, kite flying remains a passion of children everywhere and kite flying clubs and stores are flourishing.

I like the idea of something originally designed for nefarious purposes being reclaimed as a tool of delight. Other inventions share the same metamorphosis (the bicycle and bow/arrow, for example). A creation designed for war has become a toy or joy.

The prophet Isaiah many years ago offered a similar sentiment about God's wishes for our weapons of mass destruction. Isaiah 2:4 famously reads, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks."

I wonder if we might practice such reinvention in simple ways in our lives. Might we answer a chain of gossip with a refrain of compassion. "Did you hear about Susie?" "Yes, and I know that she is struggling right now in her personal life and deserves our prayer." Or might we invade a chorus of negativism with a statement of positive faith. Or even turn the weapons of personal attack into an opportunity for grace filled compassion?

Sherry and I sat at a restaurant not long ago and listened as our waitress lamented the fact that her last table had completely skipped tipping her for her service. "And I did so much for that table", she sighed. When we left we gave her our tip, and another for the table that had "stiffed" her!

We live in a world that is constantly arming and displaying weapons of language, look and judgment. Perhaps it is time for us to fly kites of peace, love and grace. And while you are at it, find time to fly a kite as well (just not one with a batarang tail).

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Tom


May Sermons and Scripture

2 May - Communion, Why does God allow suffering? Text: Romans 5: 1-11

9 May - Mother’s Day, A call to motherhood Text: Proverbs 31: 10-12, 27-31

Sermon Series: Loving Others

16 May - Do we really have to love others? Text: First John 4: 7-12

23 May - Loving others Text: Matthew 5: 38-42

30 May - Memorial Day Sunday, Loving our enemies Text: Matthew 5: 43-48

9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684