Bringing the Text to Life

Don't Just Hang In There! Isaiah 50:4-9a

Don't Just Hang In There!

Whether you're just hanging in or hanging out, it's no way to go through life.

We've all seen it. That too-cute poster of a clinging kitten, hind feet dangling in the air, only its front paws, claws dug in frantically, keeping the kitty chin-upping somewhere above the ground. Underneath the picture of this panicked pussycat is the admonition, "Hang In There!" [If this image can be projected onto a screen, so much the better.]

We are told that this is the kind of visual message we need at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning to encourage us to make it through the day and stick it out to the almost-arrived weekend. But there are two strange facets of this picture of a cliff-hanging cat.

First, why does this picture evoke a grin, a chuckle, from us when we look at it? Surely, we aren't all abusive cat-haters, pleased at the distresses of any and all frantic felines. No, we smile for the same reason we laugh at slapstick comedy. Our laughter is a burst of relief that, at least this time, the one falling flat isn't us. We sympathize. We even empathize. But we also heave a...

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