Sunday, May 5, 2019


"...a fool layeth open his folly." (from Proverbs 13:16)

Earlier this weekend, I found myself in the middle of a harrowing experience while in the Drive Thru line of a fast food restaurant.  I had already placed my order at the speaker and was waiting to pull up to the window to pay and receive my food order.  In front of me was a young white man at the wheel of a late-model mid-sized maroon Nissan sedan.  In back of me was a middle-aged white man at the wheel of a black truck.  It looked like a black dump truck, but at the very least, it was a black oversize pickup truck.  [I knew from past experiences in the Drive Thru line at this establishment that for some reason the employees tend to be slow in processing the orders.]  The guy in front of me was at the window for several minutes.  The man in the truck behind me began impatiently blowing the horn.  I was embarrassed because I was afraid the guy in front of me, as well as the restaurant employees, might think I was the person impatiently blowing the horn.

The man in front of me was passed a hot coffee through the window.
"Is that it?" the man behind me began yelling, "Is that all you were waiting for?  A hot coffee?! "  He began swearing, yelling at, and insulting the young man.

The young guy stuck his head out the window and started yelling and swearing back at the truck driver.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting there at the wheel of my old silver Toyota Corolla thinking a combination of, "This isn't happening," and "Is somebody going to start shooting?  Will the police be arriving?!"

Yelling and swearing continued coming from the driver of the black truck.  The young man was finally given an obviously large food order in a paper bag.  I expected him to drive away, but instead, he pulled up, and immediately darted his car into a parking space off to the right.  The young guy got out of his car!  He was about twenty-two and wearing camouflage military fatigues which had "U.S. NAVY" stamped on the shirt.  The middle-aged man began yelling insults, saying he had served as a Marine.  During a particularly sad and uncomfortable thirty seconds or so, the "Marine" used vile language to denigrate the Navy and the young man used exactly the same kind of language to denigrate the Marines.  By this time, I was at the window.  The two female workers I saw inside the restaurant, one sporting a number of body piercings, looked nervous and agitated.  The woman taking my money said, "That guy in the truck does this every time he comes through our Drive Thru!"

If that's true, that man obviously has some serious problems!  I was genuinely afraid one or both of these antagonists would pull a gun and the very worst possible outcome would take place!  Thank God, that didn't happen.  The young Navy man, while listening to more vile insults and profanities aimed his way, [wisely] got back into the maroon Nissan sedan and drove away.

I suppose my appropriate response here should be to say I was so upset by this scenario that I'd lost my appetite.  But being a man who enjoys his food; even fast food; I dove right into my meal and washed it down with a refreshing ice coffee!  I won't soon forget this incident, however.

This morning, we had Holy Communion at Bread of Life Church in Westminster.  You Catholic and other liturgical friends may be surprised that most evangelical Protestant churches don't have Holy Communion every Sunday.  It's usually observed once a month.  Protestant Reformer John Calvin felt that having Holy Communion every Sunday makes it a "common thing" and tends to trivialize its importance.  I'm honestly not sure if Calvin was right about that or not, but that's just the way it is.  I was genuinely struck by something Pastor Gary Collette said as he opened the Holy Communion part of the service.  He said, "This is the meal that heals".  I know that may sound weird to some people.  In the first century church, Holy Communion literally was a meal.  For hundreds of years now, in churches of virtually all stripes, it has become a ceremony where each person takes a small piece of bread (typically unleavened bread) and grape juice or wine.  It doesn't seem much like a meal, but "The Lord's Supper" is actually quite important.  Most Protestants don't believe the Communion is literally the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the way Roman Catholics do.  We do, however, believe these elements are holy and important symbols and that Holy Communion is never something a person should receive flippantly.  [I recommend reading I Corinthians chapter 11:23-34 to learn more about what I'm saying here.]  Communion service is frankly an opportunity to repent and get right with God before you take the elements.  If you've been a jerk, or you've done anything wrong, you softly tell the Lord about it, and repent.  If you later need to talk to someone or do something to make a wrong become right, then you do that. 

I thought about the contrast between the two meals;  that is, the fast food meals that the two other drivers and I partook of earlier this weekend, and The Lord's Supper that our church family partook of today.  What a difference!  I felt sad.  I'm hardly flawless.  I "received Jesus Christ as my Personal Lord and Savior" on July 21, 1970.  It saddens me that I have not lived one perfect day since then.  Each day, I've failed in some way.  Each day, I have had to ask the Lord to forgive me.  But because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and God's great love for me, I'm "saved" and I'm part of His family.

I also thought about the people involved in the incident at the fast food restaurant.  I think the driver of the black truck was the person most in the wrong during that incident, but the restaurant workers and the young Navy guy each have a piece of it, too.  And maybe I should have had the guts to just pray out loud, "Lord, please intervene and calm down this situation!"  I didn't, so maybe I'm a little bit at fault, too.

Each day I read online posts about how evil and wretched Donald Trump is, and about how evil and wretched Hillary Clinton is, and about how evil and wretched Nancy Pelosi is, and about how evil and wretched Rand Paul is;  I think you know what I mean.  It's ad infinitum.   You know what's needed?  How about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and Rand Paul, and for that matter all the people posting all the hostility-- how about they "pull a John chapter 13" and wash each other's feet in love, as Jesus did?

How about we all participate in "The Meal that Heals"?

Later in the service, Associate Pastor Joel Dahlstrom preached a wonderful sermon taken from the latter part of Matthew chapter 6 about worry.   He opened his sermon asking, "What is it that you are fighting for?"  He closed challenging all of us to take Matthew 6:33 really seriously and to live that.  I'm going to let you look up Matthew 6:33.  If you don't own a Bible, just do an online search for Matthew 6:33 and you'll see it in seconds.

Fast Food -- Fast Foolishness.
Yes, there's frankly a lot of sinful foolishness in our world today that [I think] must disgust God.