Thursday, September 8, 2011

Devotional 9-9-11

What’s Your Message?

Have you ever been in a conversation and thought, “I’m getting mixed signals here; what’s the message?”  No means yes, yes means maybe, maybe means ‘isn’t going to happen’.  What’s your message?

One of the lectionary readings this week is in Exodus.  We pick up just after Pharaoh has let the Hebrews leave.  They get to the edge of the sea and WHOA…look at all that water.  God parts the sea and lets them pass on dry land.   A few verses later he lets Pharaoh’s soldiers get just far enough in, gums up their chariot wheels and then pulls the plug.  The water covers them and “none survive.”  The slaves, now safely on shore, sing and dance and praise God for His deliverance (Ex 15:2 -- The LORD is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God and I will praise him…).  They make up a song, Miriam gets a group together with tambourines, and again they sing.  That’s right up through Chapter 14.  By Chapter 16, they are all whining and complaining that there is not enough food and water.  Again, God provides.  As we arrive at Chapter 20, Moses enters the cloud, goes up on the mountain and receives the Commandments (and other rules) from God.  This whole time, at the bottom of the mountain, the native are restless.  As Chapter 32 unfolds, Aaron is throwing a gold party, and it seems that golden calf is on the menu.  God is great… as long as he gives us what we want.  What’s your message?

I have had the opportunity to ride in the Bishop’s Bike Ride to Annual Conference.  We trek from Charleston, along two-lane country roads, with our end destination being Wesley Chapel on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College.  It’s 150 miles over two days.  It is an awesome way to see some of the scenic beauty of West Virginia at a snail’s pace compared to the same route by car.  We travel through many little towns (some I had never heard of until the ride).  Riding a bicycle on a road populated by automobiles can be tricky even on a good day.  A light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, is that ever-familiar diamond shaped sign with its outline of a bike and the words “SHARE THE ROAD.”   When that sign is spotted, a rider can finally exhale as the thought passes through his rapidly pedaling brain, “This is a town that sees a lot of riders. They will be ready for us and will indeed Share the Road.”  It does not take long for the pulse to quicken and the side-to-side sweep of the head to begin as he gets closer to the (wonderful) sign and discovers that it is full of bullet holes.  What’s your message?  Welcome, just stay off MY road!

Questionnaires focused on service workers reveal that restaurant employees dislike Sunday lunch more than any other shift.  They say that the church crowds are the worst.  They are impatient, demanding, hateful and the absolute WORST of all (especially to someone who waits tables) they don’t TIP. What’s our message?

I’ll close with this little ditty. It’s an oldie but goodie, and I think timely.  A woman traveling very close to the car in front of her is obviously irritated that the driver ahead does not share her sense of urgency.  The driver in front slows entering an intersection.  Clearly frustrated, the woman ‘leans’ on her car horn.  The man in the car, maybe just to get away, makes a quick left across traffic onto a side street – without using a signal.  The woman, now more agitated than ever, begins to yell obscenities through her open window, she thrusts her arm from the same open window, and without troubling three of the fingers or the thumb on that hand ensures that this no-signal-slow-poke understands that he is her “Number 1.”  And for good measure, steering with her knees at this point, she lays on the horn until the intersection is out of sight.   A police officer stopped nearby witnesses the entire exchange.  As the woman’s car clears the intersection, the police office becomes alarmed. He immediately activates the car siren and flashing lights.  He pulls the woman to the side of the road and with little or no conversation puts her into the cruiser and takes her to jail.  Time passes at the police station and finally the woman, the officer and a supervisor are all brought together.  The woman DEMANDS to know what is going on.  Prompted to speak by the supervisor the police office recounts for the woman what he saw and heard at the intersection.  He ends by saying when I saw your car pass by me with its “Follow Me to Church’” and “HONK if you Love Jesus” bumper stickers, its Christian fish outline stuck just below the name of the car and the WWJD transfer on the rear glass…I naturally assumed that the car had been stolen.  What’s your message?

We outwardly show symbols of our Christianity but do we outwardly show our Christianity? Maybe it’s a talk the talk or a walk the walk thing.  What’s your message?

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words”    -St.Francis of Assisi

Steve Matthews

1 comment:

Tim Brown said...

I would like to know what's your message to the world as a liberal non Bible believing denomination, you proclaim to be Christian and yet don't follow simple basic biblical commands of Christianity. How in the world can you as a denomination claim to love God and then have practicing homosexuals in your pulpits? What's your message? The Bible is very clear with it's message on homosexuality, it even says there will be no homosexuals in heaven, and you have them in the pulpit, what's your message? Mine to you is get out of that liberal mess, and give folks something to follow you turning towards the obedience of Christ.