Yesterday at Eastbrook Church, I concluded our series “Risky Faith.” There was so much profound conversation happening around the church about what God is speaking to us as individuals and as a church, that I was truly moved.
I told the story yesterday of Philippe Petit, a French acrobat and high-wire artist. In the early 1970s, he heard about the construction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. When he saw a picture of their design, it was like he heard a voice calling him to do something startling and risky.
After six years of planning, on August 7th, 1974, Petit and his friends secretly rode a freight elevator 104 stories up into the newly constructed twin towers of the World Trade Center. After stretching a ¾” metal cable across the 200 foot span between the towers, Petit illegally stepped out for a high wire act like no other. With the winds blowing, Philippe Petit was 110 stories – a quarter of a mile – above the sidewalks of Manhattan.
He walked the wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings between the towers. He sat on the wire, gave knee salutes and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head. After this spell-binding display, Petit was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.
Risky faith looks a bit like that. We hear a voice calling us to action. We respond. And then we step out. It may seem startling and risky, but we will do whatever Jesus says.
Here is a trailer for a movie, entitled Man on Wire, about Philippe Petit’s risky steps as a high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974: