Red Rover, Anyone?

The kids form two lines holding hands and facing each other. The lines should be 30-50 feet apart. The team chosen to go first calls for a runner from the other line, saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Thomas come over!” Thomas then takes off running and tries to break through the other line. If he breaks through, he chooses one of the kids that he broke through to take back to his team. If he doesn’t break through, he has to stay with the other team. The game ends when everyone is in one line.

Wikipedia explains the risks associated with Red Rover in following way: When the runner breaks through a link (or attempts to break through), it can hurt the linkers’ arms or body or knock them to the ground. Practices particularly discouraged are linking players hand-to-wrist or hand-to-arm (rather, players should hold hands only), “clotheslining” an opposing player at throat height, or extending the hands so an onrushing player runs into a fist.

Seems like a funny way to get punched.

Red Rover is a game that is also known as Forcing the City Gates. It’s not a highly competitive game. Everyone ends up on the winning team.

Being in the church ought be like playing a game of Red Rover. First, we join hands, brothers and sisters in Christ. Together, we look over to the other side. We choose them one at a time. Which one belongs in the army of the Lord first? Where is his spirit already stirring in their hearts?

Then we call them over, one at a time.

“Red Rover, Red Rover, send another one of his beloved on over!” And they’ll come. Come, give us all you’ve got. Run hard at Christ and see if he catches you. See if you can break the bond of life that Christ has built into his people through his work on the cross. And we stand firm in peace because we know that the bond we’ve been given is unbreakable.

Test it and you will approve it.

That’s another dream of mine. That I would be one of many Christians to reveal a deep, unbreakable witness through the relationships he’s built between those who will join hands and stand, looking out, passionately, jealously, begging for his precious children to come and give us all they’ve got.

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About Jacquelyn Barnes

Former English Literature and Writing major at Whitworth University. Spanish Language minor. Browne's Addition Resident. Editorial Assistant at Gray Dog Press. Interested in postcolonial, multicultural, and feminist theories. Former ski racer. Longboarder. Runner. Member of Vintage Faith Community Church (we have no building). Painter. Morning person. View all posts by Jacquelyn Barnes

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