So we found ourselves with a little bit of free time yesterday, so we decided to try one of those escape room things as a family. I’ve done a few of these things in the past with mixed and varied levels of success, but this was the first time for the rest of them. And I have to say that I was pretty impressed with how we did. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, basically the premise of these games is that you’re locked in a room and your mission is to escape (hence “escape room” name of the genre) by solving a series of puzzles and riddles that will help you figure out how to get out of that room. It takes teamwork, creativity, and a deal of patience with each other as we are limited to a certain amount of time.
This particular room that we tried was a bit more kid friendly than the dark dungeons full of zombies viruses and murder weapons that I’ve tried to escape from before, and also this one was surprisingly well lit. The kids had a lot of fun, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with how they did, considering that this was their first time out. It was like each kid had their own role: there was the focusser, who kept everyone doing things in a precise order as if we didn’t, then even if we win, we’d lose; there was the complainer, who never got to open the doors and try the locks because the focusser always got to do it; and there was the encourager, who basically followed around and sang and danced and did goofy things to remind us that our time limit was constantly ticking ever so close. To top it off, we had an overbearingly competitive dad who doesn’t want to waste all the money he paid to play this game just to lose it, and another unnamed parent who doesn’t know the difference between a griffon and a chimera that cost us precious seconds before that overbearingly competitive dad figured out what was wrong.
That is quite a mishmash of people trying to work together toward the same goal. And I’m proud to say that we did it! We solved the riddles and saved the magic forest or whatever it was. Also a shout out to the staff person that gave us an extra 15-20 minutes beyond our time limit because either we were 80% first timers and we get a first timer grace period, or because we were so close to winning as we were on the last puzzle, or as I’d like to think, because seriously that 7 year old we had with us wasn’t any help at all.
Either case, we had fun and the kids are excited to go again (if we ever do). But it’s amazing how something like this can pull us together and work through our strengths and weaknesses and look to a common goal.
We get another familiar story this week, although the details might be a bit fuzzy. And that is to be expected, as we get a version of this anointing of Jesus in each of the gospels, but each one is a bit different with where Jesus is, who is doing the anointing, and where the anointing happens on Jesus’ person even. Some say that the differing details are because they’re actually different events, but I would say that they’re one and the same event, but the point in telling the story is different depending on the author, and that is what accounts for the differences in details.
This time around though, I notice how there is a deep contrast between two of the named characters in the story: Mary the anointer and Judas the would-be betrayer but current thief. One is extravagantly showing her love for Jesus, and the other is complaining how expensive that love is. One is unabashedly and abundantly giving outwardly, and the other is plotting and scheming out of greed. One isn’t shy about displaying such love that fills the room, and the other isn’t shy to put it down and wonder how he can fill his own pockets.
And in the middle of it? Jesus. The one who heals and calls out. The one who saves and convicts. The one who loves and sheds light on our shortcomings and sin.
How these three got mixed up in a room together is anyone’s guess (or at least dependent on the immediate context of the story). But I do know that the room, while mixed with people of different stripes, was filled with love. Upon every wall in that space rested the fragrance of grace and mercy. Throughout that mishmash of folk, in the middle of it all was Jesus, joining them together, showing them love, and calling them into service to God and neighbour.
It kind of reminds me of church, or at least how church is meant to be like. We can be thankful for the gifts and blessings of God, and we can find the role that we were meant to play in this community that forms the body of Christ, and we can faithfully answer the call of God to follow Jesus and serve our neighbours.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!