Jun 3, 2011

What a ride

The seatbelts were really unnecessary. The centrifugal force kept us firmly in place. We looped and turned and fell and then the rollercoaster finally came to a halt. I turned to my daughter and said, "Now THAT was an E-ticket ride". She stared at me blankly.

I grew up in Phoenix. One of the advantages of growing up there was that Disneyland was only a few short hours away. Many, many times, my father would come home on Friday and say, "We're going to Disneyland!" We would leave on Friday afternoon and spend the night in Anaheim. We would spend a day at Disneyland and a day at Knotts Berry Farm. When we arrived back home late Sunday night, we were exhausted but what a weekend!

Today, when you enter Disneyland you get unlimited access to every ride. But when I was a kid, it was much different. The basic admission included a book of tickets. The tickets, labeled A through E were needed to ride the various attractions. I suppose this was done to make sure that some rides were not over-crowded. So an A ticket could be used for some of the slower rides. But an E ticket could be used for the really great rides – like the Matterhorn Bobsled.

So Disney added a word into the American Lexicon ...The E-ticket ride. In fact, In 1983, when astronaut Sally Ride, (the first American woman in space), was asked about her experience on the Space Shuttle launch, she described it by saying it was "Have you ever been to Disneyland? The Space Shuttle Launch is definitely an E-ticket Ride". I understand that Disney still uses the term to describe any of their "Premier" attractions, even those built after 1982 when E tickets were phased out!

One of the great things about a ride at Disneyland is that you get to experience stresses that you would not normally experience. In the real world, if you experienced these free-falling and turning forces, you would probably be in the middle of something that would likely kill you. But at Disneyland, it's different. You get to experience these forces knowing full well that you are safely buckled in. In fact, at the end of the ride you might say, "Let's do it again".

In a way, life is an E-ticket ride. We have all sorts of stresses that move us this way and that. It can be something that is very scary. But when you know that Jesus will never let go, it takes on a brand new meaning. I suppose you could try to avoid these stresses in your life. That would certainly be safe (and probably impossible). Or you could hold on to the promises of God so that when you come to the end of your life you will say, "Now that was an E-ticket Ride!"


Pastor David Hook

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