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

Aware of your surroundings.

July 26, 2016

    What does it mean to risk a catastrophe? Depends on what you consider a catastrophe. In the last three days, I have seen five people risking catastrophe to some degree. Admittedly, one person really wasn't in great danger. The other four could have been seriously injured.

    Let's start with the least likely to be injured. A young man probably about 16 years old was walking along slurping on a cold drink; face looking down into his phone with little awareness of his physical position on the sidewalk. (Dangerous in light of the condition of the sidewalks in our town.) I was out on a run and came around the corner, saw the young man, and observed the possibility of a collision. In NASCAR, they say, "If you see a car spin out in front of you, drive right at the car. It's likely to be gone by the time you get there."  My inner Jimmie Johnson took over and I zeroed in on the young man. Running right at him allowed me to plan several escape avenues. At the last possible moment the boy looked up and stepped to his right. We passed and it was all good. As I continued on, I prayed he would be more careful and that he would get home safely. It isn't that I enjoy being a jerk, but I do like to hold people accountable for their words or in this case their actions. I had a plan to avoid him; he had a plan 

somewhere in a 3x5 inch phone screen.

    The other four people were in motor vehicles and three of the four avoided a crash by the grace of God. When the light is red, we stop. She did not. Thankfully nobody was busting through the cross street at the intersection when she drove through. The other two in grave danger were not maintaining their lane of traffic. On a quiet street somewhere in town this action would have been fine, but these folks were on 322 at speed and I was a bit shaken. 

    The fourth person has been driving around town with their hood unlatched for several days. I know it's the same person because it is a white taxi-cab. Thank God for the engineer who thought it a good idea to put secondary safety latches on hood releases. However, speaking from experience, these latches don't always keep the hood down.    

I remember the night years ago when I left our camping spot. The next day was Sunday and I was to be in the pulpit. I had unhooked the camper electric wire off the car battery, quietly lowered the hood till the safety latch clicked, then drove away. I figured I would drive out of the campground, stop, and close the hood properly. As I descended a slight grade, the vehicle gathered speed, and before you could say, "Bob's your uncle." the hood flew backward and bounced at the end of the hinges. Miraculously, the hood didn't hit the windshield. My heart turned to water and I jumped out of my skin.

    Back to the taxi with the hood unlatched. I'm certain the driver walks by the unlatched hood everyday they jump in the cab. I'm pretty sure they should be doing a vehicle safety check before each shift. I am convinced nothing significant is occurring in the observation of the cab safety. The possibility of a liability claim elevates each day the car leaves the base with the hood bouncing against the secondary latch. Today, be aware of your surroundings, be on the lookout for people moving about with little regard to their reality. They do so to their own detriment. Tread carefully and stay aware. It will serve you well.

        "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of

        the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be

        like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at

        night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-

        controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did

        not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so

        that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another

        and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

    

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