Monday, September 8, 2014


Sunday evening service began a four-night homecoming revival and the sanctuary, including the balcony, was packed like a tin can full of sardines. People were still arriving thirty minutes into the worship portion, some expecting and demanding front row seating. If the usher wasn’t wrong, mistaking an “ugly baby” for something else, one woman even lugged a hand-held carrier in with her occupied by a small dog. Individual chairs were squeezed into nooks and crannies, clogging aisle to the point of no quick emergency escape should the unforeseen occur. Leaving early only made it clear to me that “humanity” remains “humanity” no matter where one encounters it. The parking lot was a maze of vehicles left in any available space. Lanes were blocked, presenting an enigma that took me a few minutes to solve even though the exit was not that far from my car. To each their own; but that’s not my idea of “church”. I wonder, though, knowing that each of us can and do filter life through our own individual history, personality, genetics, and probably several more adjustable knobs. We see what we want to see and all too often miss what is right in front of us. The night before, with the Youth Detention Center scheduled for Sunday morning, my mind yet had no clear direction in so far as how to approach the kids with what was on my heart. Hoping to acquire a Bible verse through some solitude with Him, I unleashed the pup into the back yard and walked toward a bench there beneath some trees. Spook was running in circles around me, his hyper energy too much for this old man. Then, there on the ground about to meet me in my next step, was about a fourteen inch garter snake, frozen in its awareness of me, and me now frozen in the sudden realization of possible encounter. The dog jumped over it at least four or five times, yet never saw it, too wrapped up in his own silliness. Finally I grabbed the little white maniac, holding him by his neck, putting his face no more than a few inches from the reptile, but still gained in no way any awareness on his part of what was immediately before him. Gaining his freedom, he circled me once before plopping himself down right on top of that which he had not yet discovered and laid there panting for thirty seconds or so. When he finally trotted off for more mischief, the poor snake was in coils wondering what whale had held him hostage. I shook my head and continued for my original destination and something, someone, inside me whispered “Here’s what you were wanting.” Indeed, it was. The boys in my assigned unit laughed at the story, began to ask questions; and, for forty-five minutes we explored the Gospel with the Holy Ghost. This is ever a stumble down the path, with or without Christ. What we gain in Him is an anchor-line and the occasional poke of His rod and staff to awaken us to reality……..

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