Children Need a Place to Play

This is an old song with a timeless truth.

My dear friend, mentor, brother – Gary – will soon be departing for some months away. While I miss his presence, I can always be assured that, Lord willing, he’ll return home with stories and new insights.

Children on PlaygroundSeveral years ago, Gary lived in Sarajevo, just after the war had ended in Bosnia. While working there, he participated in the building of a playground with an organization called Kids Around the World (which is headquartered in Rockford, Illinois). In a place where there was a crying need for infrastructure, for housing, and for services of all kinds, it seemed to me, at the time, that effort and money could find better uses than a playground. More careful consideration made me wonder though …I’ve not read the book, but I recall a title from somewhere – – “The Theology of Play.” I don’t even remember, if I ever knew, who it is by. The words of the title have stayed with me (sometimes the title is the best and most effective portion of a book. That’s one reason that I like libraries and bookstores so much. If you’re a songwriter and you ever run out of ideas, just look at book titles.).

 I don’t typically think of “theology” and “play” in the same sentence. The study of God would seem preclusive of something as frivolous as play. And yet, Jesus said that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Is playfulness, in some sense of the word, a prerequisite for admission into the kingdom?This song was written some years ago. I don’t play it often but recorded it recently for possible use on a new CD. I don’t think it’s going to make the cut but I thought someone might enjoy it.

Lyrics

It’s an angry town, full of dangerous streets

And there’s fear in the eyes and revenge in the hearts

Of the people you meet

It’s a cruel war, sharp as a tight strung wire

And the children learn to hate caught in the crossfire

But someone’s bringing them a truck of sand

Someone’s bringing them a jungle gym

Somebody’s coming from a foreign land to play with them

Cause they know children need a place to play

Don’t the children need a way to get away

A stranger comes with a sandbox and a see-saw

Cause he knows children need a place to play

Across the great Atlantic, from the outside looking in

Madness seems to rule the hearts of ordinary men

But in the angry widow and the one-armed boy and soilders can’t we see

Somewhere in that line-up are you and me

But Someone’s bringing us a truck of sand

Somebody’s bringing us a jungle gym

Somebody’s coming from another Land to play

Cause He knows children need a place to play

Don’t the children need a way to get away

A Stranger comes with a sandbox and a see-saw

Cause He knows children need a place to play

BRIDGE

There among the small ones is the secret of true laughter

The wisdom and the worship of the playful

Cause we need a place to play

In this hard world we need a way to get away

Christ Jesus comes with peace and joy and laughter

And He calls children, children come and play

Come and play

Listen