The ‘playground’ of life

3 October, 2021 27th Sunday, Year B

Watching children in a playground, I am in awe at how uninhibited they are with one another. Though they may be total strangers, children seem to have no problem fumbling and tumbling around, chatting to one another and even making friends under the watchful eye of their parents.

Once playtime is over, the new-found friends say goodbye whilst the adults simply smile and quietly go their separate ways. It is clear children believe the playground is loads of fun, not just because of the swings and slides, but because other kids are present. When other children are not around the playground is quieter, not as much fun.

It can be compared to people coming together to pray as a faith community. Total strangers we may be, but it’s still a much richer and fulfilling experience when we pray as one, whether it be at Mass, bible study or a prayer service.

At that time of common prayer, like children in a playground, it’s much easier to leave all judgement, prejudices and hang-ups behind and be more at ease with one another. And all this speaks of God who is God of, and, for relationships. The bible shows us how much God wants to be in relationship with humanity: The lengths and breaths that God will go to foster that relationship and the invitation for humanity to constantly enter into that relationship with God and, importantly, with one another.

It seems rather strange that what comes so naturally to children becomes increasingly difficult as we grow older. We become more inhibited, more weary, more conscious of ourselves and of our behaviour. We also are more aware of how others behave. And perhaps this makes having new relationships with people around us more challenging.

But we are created, born and brought up through and by relationships. It’s part of the building blocks of our very nature because it’s God’s nature. To be in loving and giving relationships with one another. To be able to come together and support one another as we fumble and tumble through life. To see and appreciate that life is so much richer and wonderful because there are others around who are living life together with us.

We are all invited by God to be in the playground of life, to enter into it with others, to be like children; welcoming, accepting without inhibitions and judgements and relating to one another as brothers and sisters. Life perhaps is meant to be like a playground, without walls, barriers and borders. Life should be an open space in our hearts where people and God can enter and bring life to us and for us to share that life with others.

Mark Chia CSsR

© Majellan Media 2021