One of my favorite games as a girl in the nineteen-fifties was hopscotch. A fun, usually all-girl game with lots of exercise and balance. In the United Kingdom, the game was called Scotch-Hoppers as ‘scotches’ are the scratches or lines etched into the dirt of fields, roads, walkways. So one hopped over the scotches. I like that because I love words and like to learn new words, use new words.
If hopscotch is not a familiar game to you, the first thing we need is a set of lines usually drawn with chalk on the sidewalk or by a stick in the dirt, even paint nowadays! Here are a few different ways to draw the court:
Next, let’s learn to play:
Supplies needed: chalk or sidewalk paint, stones/bottlecaps or bean bags. Flat stones are best. They don’t roll!
“If you’re the first player you throw your marker on the number one (the closest square), hop over it, moving up to ten, hopping on each square. All hops are done on one foot for each “single” square, unless there are two squares are side by side, in which case you hop down on both feet. Once you get to ten you must turn around and hop back again, carefully bending down to pick up the marker on the way back. You can’t lose your balance and you must always remain on that one foot.
“For your next turn you need to throw your marker so it hits the #2 and so on.
“You lose your turn if your marker doesn’t hit your intended square, if you lose your balance on the hopscotch grid, or if you forget to hop over your square.”
Hop across the scotches without touching them with your feet or hands, pick up your marker and make it through the court over and over again until you have done it ALL!
So what does this have to do with my spiritual journey, you might be asking?
Hopscotch has rules, lines to stay within, lines not to touch, marker to pick up while standing on only one foot, etc., etc. Life has rules that keep the chaos from overtaking me. Life has steps to take. They can be my steps or God’s steps. ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
God took chaos, made order and His beautiful world before Adam and Eve chose to use their God-given will to step on those lines, changing life as God had planned for man and woman from that moment to this.
I am created in His Image with creativity for He is The Creator. I am able to draw inside or outside the lines with that creativity, to make beautiful and ugly life-art.
He gave me free will. I am able to choose which way to go, what to do, who to be, how to be.
He also calls me to obedience. Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5
I am to stay constant and balanced on His path. I am to walk within the framework He designed for my life, yet not be afraid if I step on a line. He wants obedience but He also forgives. I am His child and am always learning. Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes! Psalm 119:5
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
The “requirement of the Law” … my standard for behavior is reflected in the character of God. By walking in the Spirit, the law of Christ, the New Covenant, is written on my heart. I am an epistle, a letter, a reflection of God to those I come in contact with. You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
The Law was set in place for me to live by until Christ came to die for me, for my sins, setting in place that New Covenant. (I can play hopscotch and step outside the lines, but I lose a turn, waiting for the other players to step on the lines or lose their balance before I can try again.) In this life, I mess up, but must seek forgiveness to move forward in this walk with Christ. I want to stay balanced and in those scotches to the best of my ability. I can walk the life planned for me in obedience and gladness because I walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. He set me free when I walk His Way. I have both freedom and order through obedience.
Photo: Brynne Shaw, The Plain Dealer @ http://www.cleveland.com/remembers/index.ssf/2011/11/playing_movie_stars_on_the_fro.html
Diagram of Hopscotch courts: from http://leesvoice.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-do-you-hop.html
Hopscotch Rules: Andrea Tompkins @ http://www.quietfish.com/notebook/?p=1147