The town is a landmark. One of the oldest in America. It is one third of the Historic Triangle which is completed by Yorktown and Jamestown. At the heart of the town is a living museum/historic district where travelers can immerse themselves in colonial times with actors, exhibits, and more. Colonial Williamsburg.
We ventured there Saturday with a simple agenda of looking at Christmas decorations and taking a simple walk. And I never can go there without having an awe of Bruton Parrish. Recognizing the church (active since 1674) still has weekly, if not daily, worshipping in the same building that was erected in early 1700s. I walk by it and her cemetery and reflect upon how many lives this Parrish has influenced.
But this year, something new hit me. Not too far away is a temporary structure added to Colonial Williamsburg. It doesn’t fit in with the 350 year old historic landmark. But it is quite popular.
For the holidays, Williamsburg has closed part of Gloucester St. and added a small ice rink. Nothing too fancy, but scores of people gathered to glide, fly, and fall on the ice. And from the rink, Bruton Parrish sits in the background.
But in a way, this ice skating event is much like a church. People are involved. Some are quite skilled and comfortable in this environment. I see worshippers singling songs familiar to their hearts. They smile, enjoy the experience, and make it look easy – even when it is not so easy. There are couple hand in hand, making it a shared experience. Like worshippers who sit with their family and friends, laugh together and even help each other. And for me, there is something new. There skaters that are using a ice walker. Much like young and newer believers, uncomfortable with what a walk in the faith is really like. They need assistance, guidance, and a little help.
And this is what made me shake my head. Now don’t get me wrong, I am pleased people have developed an instrument to prevent injury, to assist in skill development, and to give confidence to the novices. But it also lessens the responsibility of the experienced, the skilled, and those who can pass on their knowledge to newer skaters. And in the church world, we do the same thing. We often pass our responsibility away to others.
There is strength in having mentors to walk beside you in early stages of your faith (even later stages of a faith walk too.). We need people to be role models, patient teachers, and examples. Parents need to teach faith to their kids, not regulate to a kids ministry.
I don’t need to only look at mature believers, I need to hear from them, learn from them, and interact with them. And I need to do the same to those who need to learn from my experience and journey. I would love to skate smooth, spinning, and elegantly, and just say, “watch me, but leave me alone.” But that’s not the faith walk.
Bruton Parrish has not lasted just as a spectator sport … people poured their lives into other people. This season, let’s do that. Let’s pour our life into others. And you might even realize you grow more yourself in the process.