(with acknowledgement to Mary Daniel, who wrote My Little Red Wagon for June 24, 2000)
Revelation 1:4 – Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come. (NIV)
When I was a young boy growing up in the 'fifties, I led a life with a degree of freedom that my son, growing up in the '90's, will never know. I walked to and from school and came home for lunch each day. I could ride my bike to the pool and the library; I walked to the movies for the Saturday matinee and to the local YMCA for swimming lessons. As I grew older — 12 and 13 — I would take the train, by myself, to downtown Chicago for a first-run movie or to go shopping in the "Loop". During the summer, we would be let out of the house after breakfast to play with friends in the neighbourhood until summoned home for lunch or dinner. Baseball was usually a pick-up game played on the high school athletic field — six people and we had a team (basemen doubling as outfielders).
My son, on the other hand, must be chauffeured wherever he goes, be it school, the pool, Scouts or the library. Everything seems to be a minimum of two miles away with at least three major roads to cross. Athletics, and all other activities, are organized, supervised and played to win. Getting together with friends involves feats of scheduling reminiscent of an election campaign. And who would even dream of letting their child roam around the downtown of a major city on their own? He will never know the freedom of being able, as a child, to go where he wants, when he wants, by himself.
However, he and I do share one common experience. As a child, my father used to pull my sister and me around the neighbourhood in a little red wagon. When my son was born, my father took that same red wagon, which he had stored in the attic, cleaned it up, painted it and sent it to my wife and me to use to pull our son around our neighbourhood on our evening walks. My son has long since outgrown the wagon, and it now sits in my attic waiting for the time when I will clean it up, repaint it and give it to him to haul his children around on his evening walks.
In its own way, that wagon is a symbol of God's unchanging presence in our lives. Progress (?) marches on, lifestyles change, and our lives seem to become more and more complex; but God in Christ is always with us, unchanging, the one constant from generation to generation. He is always present waiting to carry us on our journey through life, just as the little red wagon has carried my son and me and now waits to carry future generations.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, help us to be aware of your presence in our lives, and let us always be willing to accept your gift of grace that will carry us on our walk through this life and to your kingdom in heaven. Amen.