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

Seeing is Believing

September 27, 2018

    Staying attentive to things is essential to arriving at a predetermined destination with any hope of making a statement or being in one piece.  Case in point. Today was a travel day for me and the trip back and forth to State College had its usual traffic, road construction, and the occasional "Did I just see what I thought I saw" moments.

    On my return we descended the Seven Mountains area, there was the usual string of tractor trailers coming down the hill in reduced gear.  Creeping along at perhaps 30 miles per hour, they looked like a long caterpillar.  Traffic in the left lane (which should have been at least maintaining the speed limit of 55 MPH) was moving at a 50-ish MPH limit.  Hmm, one person who decided to pass the caterpillar changed their mind and chose to ride in the left lane and seemed unwilling to pass. That means we were not doing 55 but more like 40!   You know, a lot of distractions can take your eyes off the road when there is nowhere to go.  

    The fellow in front of me was maintaining good distance between he and the person in the snail mode.  Unfortunately, he was monkeying with something between the seats of his car.  As he looked to the right, the vehicle began gliding to the left and rubbed the cement divider.  I instinctively covered the brake and waited for him to over steer. Thankfully he did not.  Phew!

    Long story short, we arrived onto the level highway, the snail finally passed a truck and pulled back in line. The fellow in front of me moved onward.  As I passed him, he had earbuds in and was still looking to the right.  Sure hope he got to where he was traveling.

    I'm sure that we all do those things that really do not define who we truly are.  Both of those drivers are probably usually better focused than what they demonstrated today.  We can hope so and give them the benefit of the doubt.

    How about our witness of Jesus Christ to the world? At the Orange Tour 2018 held in Mt. Joy the other day, they posted the slide shown here. (Sorry for the resolution) Actually, I'm not sorry because I think the fuzziness of the photo is metaphor for how our witness for Jesus looks on any given day. It says, "The next generation will believe that Jesus is who he says he is when we treat each other like he said we should." (Reggie Joiner)

    Think about that statement for a moment.  If we attend to our task of sharing Jesus in such a way that people are drawn to him rather than have them run from him then we are doing that task well.  Oft times, we live in such a way that demonstrates to anyone who might be watching us that our words don't always follow our actions. We get distracted. We treat others with disrespect. We taint our witness with words that harm rather than build up.  In essence, we are looking right and the vehicle is gliding left. There is going to be contact with a cement divider soon. Surely, nothing good will come of this.

    There is a better way though. First off, if you're driving, please stay attentive!  But we aren't speaking of driving only.  We're also pointing a finger into the mirror and asking ourselves a question. "In a day's time, do I present a cogent image and a compelling aroma of Jesus that is so good that people are drawn to him?"

Or.....

    Do we need to reread John 17:20-22 and re-calibrate our lives to reflect this oneness that Jesus was praying for on our behalf?  Depending on the day, I'm sure this question is relevant.  In fact, I would encourage us to daily seek the center of God's will in this matter.  It isn't a crime to veer to one side or the other in our faith walk. It is a serious offense to veer and not correct which would ultimately lead to a train wreck of biblical proportions. Train wrecks tend to gather collateral damage along the way.  

       “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their

       message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be

       in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave

       me, that they may be one as we are one" (John 17:20-22, NIV)

If you're up for it, why don't you and I commit right now to hold Jesus high so that those around can see him. Oh, and while we're at it, we should treat our neighbors in such a way so that Jesus would be a believable way for people to have the same hope we profess. When we love each other the way Jesus said we should, the witness is so strong that many will be drawn to him.

 

                        "A Musing Pastor"

 

PS: When driving on a two lane highway, if passing a vehicle, do so in the words of Jesus to Judas, "Whatever you are going to do, do it quickly."   :) 

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