Getting Ahead: ‘The Keystone’


As a boy I related the word “keystone” to the movie camera mom and dad bought in the 1950s. They took movie pictures with that Keystone camera every holiday and when the pictures were taken indoors, they had to use lights so bright that they heated up the room. Those lights were not only hot, they were power-consumptive. They would blow a fuse if any other electric device was plugged into the circuit and we would then all be in the dark until dad could find a flashlight and replace the fuse.

Another keystone that I was familiar with was on TV: the Keystone Kops. They were an incompetent group of policemen featured in silent film comedies that we thought were the funniest thing we had ever seen. I have learned that they were filmed between 1912 and 1917 so we were watching 40-year-old re-runs thinking that they were the best thing ever.

Sometime later I became familiar with what a keystone really was.

It is the wedge-shaped stone piece at the top of a masonry arch, which is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch to bear weight.

I have some experience with constructing an arch and you must support it until the keystone is put in place. Every piece of the arch can be in place, but until the keystone is in place, the arch cannot hold any weight. As a matter of fact, it cannot even hold itself. It must constantly be propped up.

We seem to have our life in order but we cannot hold up under any weight. We constantly have to be propped up or we crumble in a heap. Is it possible that this is a sign that the most important part of our life is not in place? Are we living like an arch without a keystone? If so, what is the “keystone” of life?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Library for Bible Study at 9:30 a.m. and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30 at 120 W. Court St. in Washington C.H.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist