Today I'm going to talk about puppets.
Not hand puppets like Kermit or Miss Piggy.
Marionettes – puppets on strings.
My sons' father's grandparents were fascinated by them.
They once visited a show put on by a famous puppeteer named Tony Sarg:
"Anthony Frederick Sarg (April 21, 1880 - February 17, 1942), known professionally as Tony Sarg, was a German American puppeteer and illustrator. He was described as "America's Puppet Master", and in his biography as the father of modern puppetry in North America. In 1928, he designed, and his protégé Bil Baird built tethered heilium-filled balloons up to 125 feet (40 m) long, resembling animals, for the New York institution of Macy’s department store…these participated in the store's Thanksgiving Parade." - (from Wikipedia article)
Well, evidently Grandpa and Grandma S weren't content just being audience members. They were very creative people, and were inspired by what they saw. So they went home and decided to make some marionettes of their own.
Grandpa S set about to painstakingly hand-make the molds, and then to pour the plaster-like material into the molds. Various body parts were then attached to each other. Intricate workmanship that took hours was involved in stringing the inner mechanisms with black fishing line.
Marionettes are not simple projects.
Grandpa then painted the faces of the characters that he had created. Grandma S designed and sewed the little costumes. The *troupe* had two sizes of marionettes – 24" and 36". They had clever names like:
Patrick O'Toole – a tap-dancing hobo
Sadie the Seal – an acrobatic circus seal
Mr. Bones – an articulated skeleton who loved dancing
Eddie Somebody – a banjo player extraordinaire
(Can you tell these were made in the 1930's??)
Grandpa and Grandma performed many shows, entertaining children and adults alike.
Eventually they included their only son, Jack, in the performances. But alas, life has a way of happening, and after awhile, the marionettes were relegated to the garage.
Stored, but not forgotten.
There they sat, for many years, until the boys' father decided to bring them back alive. Dusted off and re-strung, the troupe was once again ready to perform.
I'm sure many events were made a little more magical because of this wonderful traveling band of puppet entertainers.
One of the acts was performed by two circus clowns on parallel bars. They were named "Mike and Ike."
It took a lot of practice to learn how to manipulate the strings. It took a lot of time to learn the complicated routine. It took even longer to perfect the ability to work in perfect unison.
So, there is a reason I'm remembering these marionettes today.
I'm thinking about what controls us.
Yes, we have been given the awesome and sometimes awful gift of free will.
We have the ability to make choices.
And yes, sometimes these choices are not good ones. But I'm thinking about what lies behind the choices.
The motives, the impulses, the compulsions.
What is it that pulls our strings?
In the book of Romans, Chapter 7, Paul has an interesting monologue about just that. He talks about being controlled by our old sin nature. He speaks of how we are slaves to the flesh.
About how we do what we don't want to do – and we don't do what we want to do.
But, are we just the helpless victims of imperfect motives, raging impulses, and forceful compulsions?
Are we hopelessly going through the motions under the control of the enemy's string-pulling?
No, we still have free will.
But without Jesus, that free will is terribly flawed. That free will is still subject to the slavery of sin. That free will is still ruled by self – and SELF is a terrible puppeteer.
As Paul lamented, "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"
Ah, but we have also been given another choice.
A choice to willfully turn from sin, and to put ourselves under the direction of the Lord. We can freely choose Him as our Savior, and surrender our wills to His Holy Spirit.
We can yield our control to Someone else.
It isn't always easy.
It can take a lot of practice to learn how to release the strings. It can take a lot of time to learn the complicated routine – the Christian life isn't easy. It can take even longer to perfect the ability to work in perfect unison with the Spirit's guidance.
But, the finished product can be a beautiful thing.
A creature moving at the behest of a Loving Master.
The One who holds the strings to the universe – and never lets go of mine.
Are you a puppet,
or are you alive in Christ?
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin…God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins…those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace…you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you." (From Romans 8, NLT)
Who or what is pulling your "strings"?
(***NOTE: The above picture is NOT the marionettes. I don't have photos of the marionettes, so I used the nutcrackers that the sons made when they were in 6th grade!!)
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at UNITE
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Shari at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Gail at TGIF
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Patricia at STILL SATURDAY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
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