Posted by: owizblog | June 28, 2017

We’re All Crowdsurfers: Thought For The Day, BBC Radio Scotland, 28 June 2017

I doubt Jeremy Corbyn had a better time at Glastonbury than did Katy Perry. The singer went crowd-surfing at the iconic music festival, following what the media described as an “epic stage dive into the crowd.” For the uninitiated,  here’s a prim online definition: “crowdsurfing: the process in which a person is passed overhead from hand to hand, from one part of the venue to another.”

Perhaps Jeremy, like me, has dreamed of doing it. I, a man of some substance, visualize the trail of strain injuries I would leave in my wake, and the dream fades; but the elfin Perry could throw herself trustingly into the crowd, and live the dream of being borne aloft by myriad supporting hands.

I thought of that as I read the astounding story of the young woman in a New York State amusement park who somehow found herself caught twenty-five feet above the ground, half-in and half-out of a car on a cable ride. A crowd of men, visitors and staff, gathered under the stopped car, and someone, in words pared to the bone and all the more profoundly moving for it, called up to her “They’ll catch you, honey, go ahead!”

And she did. And they did. And it was no small thing to do; one man was hospitalized with a back injury. Sometimes it costs to be there for another.

Some verses of the Bible stick in the mind because of what they evoke. One that’s very often heard at funerals is this one, from Deuteronomy: “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Support, a being borne up when we can’t hold ourselves up, the God who’s there for us when we have nothing else to fall back on.

But we need to understand the context, too. This understanding grows out of a community life in which being borne aloft, supported and sustained is how people experience each other; a social fabric grounded in mutual support, which simultaneously derives from, and shapes, faith in God. What can it possibly mean to say that God is there for us, if we won’t be there for each other? What is faith, without trust? Faith makes crowdsurfers of us all…

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