God’s Game of Telephone

June 3, 2022  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

Little boy playing the telephone game with soup can

You’ve probably played the game of “pass it on” before, maybe years ago on the playground. It’s a simple concept: one person whispers something in another person’s ear, and it gets repeated person by person throughout the group, until finally the last one to hear the message has to say it out loud. Whatever ends up being said at the end of the game is usually a far cry from the original statement, and everyone has a good laugh.

As individuals, we don’t receive news in the same way. Our personalities, our histories, our weaknesses, and our strengths determine how we interact with information we encounter in the world, both good and bad. One person will interpret a compliment positively; someone else will take offense. One person reacts to news of a job promotion with joy, another is disappointed that now they will have less time with their family. The same news can mean completely different things to different people.

But what God gives us is the truth in love, and the truth in love is the same in every place and in every time, for every person of every race. When Christ prayed to the Father that “the love with which you loved me may be in them,” he was asking that the magnificent gift that had been imparted to him would also be imparted to us.

Our job is to play a game of pass it on with this gift of love. How do we keep it from becoming warped? Through remaining committed to the word of God, to the sacraments, and to one another.

In this game, we don’t change the message. The message changes us. And we have to give it away to keep it.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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