Sarah Hoopes

One summer at camp, I stood in front of the woods with my peers and counselors. The counselors told us that we would be going through a rope maze. We were to be blindfolded, led to a web of ropes and hooked on. They told us to follow the rope till we found our way out and if we needed help to just raise our hand. One by one we were led down into the woods and brought to the maze; little did we know, there was no way real way out. The rope was a big circle that was all connected. Slowly I wandered through the rope maze, winding in and out of the trees, crossing over and under the ropes. Time was slowly passing and I could not seem to find anyway out. I was so frustrated. I was sure other people could find their way out; why couldn't I? After a while, I started to feel as if I was just going in circles (and I was). I gave up. I raised my hand for one of the counselors and sure enough they came, took off my blindfold and walked with me back out of the woods. Later the counselors explained to the group that there was no real exit to the maze. The only way out was to raise your hand.

I think about this maze a lot. If I hadn't asked for help, I would have never been able to get out. I like to compare this maze to my life. So many times I've felt trapped or lost; I struggle to search for solutions, focusing my mind on so many different things. Eventually I come to realize that I should focus on my faith, because with a little bit of faith, God is always there to help. And I know Jesus loves to help. It said in the passage that €œthe blind and lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.€ Someone who takes time out of their own day, even on the Sabbath, to heal is definitely someone who helps.

Now the problem is that normally, we do not go to Jesus for help. We look for excuses, cheat, or try to buy our way out of things. We focus on earthly things like the men and women who set up their stands in the temple. These people we so focused on making money that they actually set up shop right in front of the temple. The story we read today from Mathew reminds us what is most important in life: our relationship with Christ. He says €œMy house will be called a temple of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.€ Then (this is my favorite part) Jesus makes a huge scene, overturning all of the tables and getting completely worked up. Every time I read this part about Jesus getting so angry, I actually feel really happy and grateful. Because this story also helps to reassure me that if I do lose focus, if I do 'put up tables,' Jesus is always there to overturn them.

Emily Mosher

One of my favorite things to do is curl up in a chair, put on my horn-rimmed glasses, and read. Seriously, that's what I do! Well, the glasses part isn't true, but it definitely adds something to the image. Through school, I've come to love a different genre of reading: poetry. Robert Browning, Sara Teasdale and Robert Frost are among my favorites. When told I would be speaking at youth Sunday, of course my initial reaction was, €œWhat am I possibly going to say about turning over tables?€ I was looking through a book of quotations when I came across my inspiration. Can you guess? It was a poem by Robert Frost. Many know the famous poem €œThe Road Not Taken.€ The closing line sealed the deal for me:

€œTwo roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.€

While it's certainly not as dramatic as storming a temple and throwing everything into disarray, I think the cliché of €œthe fork in the road€ is an easier mental image to use in everyday life.

In this case, it illustrates the problem of €œI can stand by and do nothing, or I can do the unexpected.€ One such experience for me was during the Summer of 2006. I could have stayed at home and gone down to the shore, doing nothing of real interest or importance, but instead I took that leap and went on a Girl Scout camping trip to England. There I not only had an awesome adventure but I made a lot of great friends with whom I still keep in touch. Going to England as a Girl Scout and meeting other Girl Scouts/Girl Guides from other countries put us all on the same level and allowed us to get to know each other as sisters in scouting. Everyone wanted to meet everyone else because each person was different. How many times do you get to meet Guides from Japan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, England, America, Wales, and Trinidad and Tobago?

That experience was important for me because it reminded me that in some ways, everyone is the same. We all are people, wanting to experience new things and make new friends. There was no bias or dislike because of a difference of religion, ethnicity, or background: we were simply sisters in guiding. While there, we had the chance to see some traditional cultural dances and hear some traditional songs. All of the internationals were exposed to the customs of people from other countries, which began to create a feeling of understanding and appreciation for other backgrounds. This was significant for me because it helped reinforce the idea that there is no €œright€ or €œperfect€ culture; it is these differences we all have that make the world so interesting. After that event, I began to think about the world, and how so many times we get into the mindset that there's only one way: our way. One of the 'turning over tables' moment from my England trip stems from the 'cultural tent' and the friendships that were made: to end a lot of the stereotypes and other issues people have with other cultures, first we must get to know the people, culture, and history. It never ceases to amaze me what I learn from my friends in other countries, and I have come to appreciate our differences so much. A conversation is certainly never boring!

Often it's hard to befriend someone who's different. There can be a lot of barriers, whether it is religion, beliefs, distance, or, probably one of the biggest things, language. That's another turning over of tables: Are you willing to take that extra step to do something difficult, but that in the end is worth it?

These moments of trial been referred to as €œmountains€ or €œforks in the road,€ and I believe we're given these experiences for a reason. We, as Christians, are supposed to do the unexpected: help out a friend in need, perform random acts of kindness, or perhaps volunteer time at some sort of organization. To someone, somewhere, these little things make a huge difference. Just as Jesus' time cleansing the temple gave new hope to his followers, that 'revolution' also teaches us to set the example for others by turning the tables over in our own lives. Each person turns over tables in his or her own way. Perhaps it's doing what you know is right, even though everyone else is discouraging such an act (Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird), or maybe it's living boldly with consequences (Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter). Though I don't know how many more of those experiences I'll have in my life, one thing's for sure: €œI have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.€