On the Side of the Road

On the Side of the Road

Luke 10:30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that stories in the Bible match up to what happens to us, except that you’re intelligent people so I know you’ve noticed.

Anyhow, one of those cases happened to us last Friday. I was watching an educational program on television called Cops, which consists of narrated body cam videos of police “taking down” (that’s police talk) various miscreants. I don’t know why I find this so fascinating, but I do.

The phone rang and it was Becky. I knew she had gone to Peebles to take advantage of a sale, probably also using coupons and discounts so that she could walk out with a bunch of merchandise after the store had paid her to take it off their hands. She first told me the call was nothing bad and then said, “I had a flat tire,” which I think is bad, but I wasn’t there.

My guy genes kicked into high gear at this point and I drove slowly and legally over to Peebles, not wanting to end up on an episode of Cops. I found her sitting in the car with the tatters of the left front tire clinging sadly to the axle. I set about jacking the car up so I could put on the “doughnut” (a sorry excuse for a spare), loosened the lug nuts and tried to pull the tire off. Nothing doing. It was like it was glued to the axle. No, it WAS glued to the axle with rust or some other miracle ingredient. After about fifteen minutes of this, Becky saw a Buckhall EMT vehicle pull up, ostensibly to get some Chinese food. She suggested that I ask them for help, having noticed that at least one of them was a big beefy guy who could probably bench press me. I asked them for help, and they readily agreed, saying they liked to do such things.

Long story made shorter: they had the tire off and the doughnut installed in ten minutes.

Now for the application: while we weren’t by the side of the road (we were in a parking lot), the car had been injured and we could fix it with the help of a couple of guys we didn’t know who wouldn’t take anything for it. It was somewhat like the parable of the Good Samaritan.

All this goes to show that people haven’t changed and they have reacted to situations in the same way throughout history. We all find ourselves beside the parabolic roadside and sometimes we are blessed by helpful people who come along. Of course, sometimes they don’t, but that’s another story and another parable.

Thanks be to God for the love God had implanted in our hearts so that we want to help others, and thanks to God for loving us so much that he was willing to die on a cross for us. All praise to the Creator, Redeemer and Comforter. Amen.

Eggs in a Hat

Eggs in a Hat

I don’t know if you remember the Woolworths stores, including the one in the Manassas Shopping Center. I loved going into Woolworths as a kid. It seemed they had everything, including tropical fish and a snack bar. There’s not one of these stores that I know of anywhere around here, even those the company is still in business. Just not here.

I remember that my mother bought a Nativity set from the store with all the usual suspects: the angels, wise men, shepherds, sheep, donkeys, Mary, Joseph, a tiny cradle and of course the Christ child. My father made a wooden stable, and our collection was jammed into it in the most joyous and satisfying way. In the way of children, I had my favorite character, but it wasn’t a wise man or angel as you might expected. Instead I liked one of the shepherds who, dressed in what looked like burlap, had a number of eggs in the gray hat. He was bending toward the baby as if giving his offering to the child, never mind that newborns can’t eat eggs. But I have to think that the shepherd wanted to offer the best of  what he had, and the eggs were it. The key is that he gave freely of something that the baby at least couldn’t use, although I have a feeling that Mary and Joseph had a tasty mutton omelet for Shabbat brunch later on.

The point of all this is that the shepherd gave of the best he had, even if it didn’t rank with gold or frankincense  or myrrh, the gifts of kings. I think it notable that the shepherds, the lowest of the low in that society, were the first to see and worship the baby. The kings came three or four years later. But shepherds and kings brought gifts and worshipped the Redeemer as their response to the gift God had given them, the same gift God has given to us. Praise God for the gift of his Son, for the remembrance of the Christmas season, and for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen