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  • "A Musing Pastor"

The Darkness Should Never Win.


I remember almost 20 years ago a former pastor taught me an important lesson in being a prankster. He asked me to go to the church kitchen and get him a glass of water. He was thirsty and so I did as he asked. I placed the glass under the faucet and turned on the water. Immediately I was drenched by a burst of water from the hand sprayer. Ha. Ha. Good one. He had taken a rubber band and wrapped the spray nozzle trigger open. I have chosen to not follow in his footsteps.

Mutual light hearted joking and trickery can be fine if done in the correct setting between people who genuinely love each other and understand forgiveness. Ill timed or ill focused pranks on the other hand can do serious damage.

The other night, my wife and I were traveling home from a meeting at church. As we neared a stop sign near our home, I locked onto an aluminum bench (Like those used along the sidelines of a soccer game) sitting across both lanes of the street. My headlights thankfully illuminated the bench and I noticed it before I hit it. What in the world? I hit the 4 ways and got out to remove the bench. I'm sure somewhere there were eyes trained on me and a great deal of chuckling and high fiving was taking place. Um, okay. Ha. Ha. Another motorist stopped and thanked me for seeing and moving the bench. He was about to turn the corner and would have hit the impediment. We exchanged pleasantries and both made some uncomplimentary remarks about the shenanigans of youth.

Clearly, there is no way I can definitively know who placed the bench in the street. I would love to know this information but sadly do not. Not 100 yards away walking down an adjacent street were four teenagers. Every fiber of my being wanted to stop and question these fellows. Instead I assumed they were guilty and drove by them slowly (even coming to a stop right beside them for identity purposes).

FAST FORWARD: Let's pretend my 75 year old grandmother was driving home from church and she too saw the bench. Let's pretend she stopped and got out to remove the bench. Let's pretend my grandmother either suffered a heart attack upon lifting the bench or she severely pulled muscles in her lower back. Ha. Ha. That's really funny isn't it??

REWIND: Mutual light hearted joking and trickery can be fine if done in the correct setting between people who genuinely love each other and understand forgiveness. Ill timed or ill focused pranks on the other hand can do serious damage.

In a day and age when law breaking seems to be escalating and respect is deescalating, be vigilant and keep a watchful eye on your home, your street, your neighborhood, and community. If you see or hear things that don't seem to track, call your local law enforcement. October brings with it a special focus on playing pranks, damaging property, and in general a great deal of mischief.

Pranks have been offered for as long as humanity has been. In the absence of holiness, there exists a bent to choose to do unwise things and endanger some. In darkness, folks can be brave and do silly things that either become harmless pranks or painful tragedies. In the light, folks are less likely to be mean-spirited and less likely to boldly do things to demean our community. Stand firm in your faith in God and shine the light of Christ into your neighborhood. Begin to transform darkness clinging pranksters into light embracing citizens.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the

watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127:1, NIV)


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First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com