A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Watch Out for Security Line "D"

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
If we say "break a leg" to wish good luck on opening night,
why don't we say the same thing just before a ski trip?
I love to ski.
Every year I look forward to taking a ski trip
with some friends to the "real" mountains out west.
There is nothing like being on top of a mountain
at 12,000 feet above sea level
and gazing far enough to see two other states.
Inevitably the week before,
as people realize my trip is approaching,
I am inundated with the well-intended phrase,
"don't break your leg".
Once in a while,
I will hear "have a great time,"
but 95 times out of 100 it will be.....
"don't break your leg".
I begin to understand what Ralphie
in Christmas Story felt like when he was bombarded with
"You're gonna shoot your eye out."
Now I have no intention of ever breaking my leg,
or any other bone in my body for that matter,
in fact, I have never broken a bone doing anything.
And every "don't break your leg" comment
seems to come from women.
It must be a maternal instinct as
I have never heard a man tell me,
"Don't break your leg"
If folks really wanted to wish me protection on my ski trip,
maybe they really should say,
"I hope you make it through airport security"
Let me explain.
Now that airlines charge for each baggage,
I have learned that I can save a substantial amount
if I stuff all my clothes into my ski bag and my boot bag.
By using my boot bag as my one free carry on,
I save the cost of 2 baggage fees both to and from my destination.
The night before my departure
I crammed shirts, pants, underwear, toiletries, sweaters
into both my ski bag and my boot bag.
Now, my boot bag is quite old. So old in fact,
that when I closed the zipper over the bulging mass,
the handle of the zipper broke.
To open the bag upon arrival
I was going to have to rip the canvas.
No problem, I thought.
I'll just buy a new bag when I arrive out west.
No problem.....
that is, until I got to the airport.
I don't know what it is about me.
I must look suspicious.
I am the one who usually gets picked for the random body search.....
at airports, during prison visits, at theme parks....
it doesn't matter.
Even I try to flash my clergy card,
what I get is
"Please put your hands up sir,
this pat down won't take very long."
This trip I didn't get the strip search
or the pat down,
but what I did get is the
"Sir, we're going to have to check through your bag."
At that moment I learned something.........
If you raise any level of protest
at an airline security check-in,
you might as well take your monopoly icon past Go,
do not collect $200,
just go straight to jail.
There is no amount of pleading
that will deliver you from the ravages of Mr. Security Check-In Guard.
In fact, the more you protest,
you might as well be ready for the magical world of handcuffs.
I tried to explain that the zipper had broken
and that there was no way to open it.
"Oh, we'll open it" Mr. Security Check-In Guard
said quite confidently.
At that moment,
I realized that everyone in security line D
was going to find out whether I wear boxers or briefs.
"But once you open it,
I won't be able to close it" I pleaded.
I was one step closer to being apprehended by the nearby guard with handcuffs.
"Oh, we'll close it" Mr. Security Check-In Guard
said quite confidently.
Out came the underwear,
out came the deodorant,
out came the sweaters.
Then out came the reason for the search.
The shampoo bottle,
that would be the shampoo bottle that was 2 lousy ounces over regulation.
"Yup, that's a security threat,"
I said inside my head to Mr. Security Check-In Guard.
Mr. Security Check-In Guard
gleamed with triumph
as he tossed the contraband into the black abyss
never to be seen again.
Then out came his gun,
that would be his cellophane wrapping gun,
and like Humpty Dumpty,
he began to put my violated ski boot bag back together again.
After 71 circumnavigations of my boot bag with the cellophane,
Mr. Security Check-In Guard
handed me back my ravaged bootbag.
To add insult to injury,
he made sure that one pair of underwear
was visible to all the population on Flight 1939.
"Have a nice flight"
Mr. Security Check-In Guard chimed as I walked off to Gate D10.
Sometimes the problem
isn't the real problem.
Sometimes it's not the skiing,
but the security check-in.
Jesus knew that the problem
isn't always the real problem.
He knew that the Pharisees questions
were more about entrapment then theological understanding.
He knew that impure deeds
had as their genesis, impure thoughts.
He knew that impure sacrifices being sold in the temple
were only a symptom of a deeper greed. and lack of fear of God's holiness.
He knew that the woman caught in the act of adultery,
was moreso, a wounded soul in need of forgiveness and second chances.
He knows what wounds each one of us
and that what is shown on the outside
is merely a reflection of a deeper internal need.
If that is true of ourselves,
it is also true of others.
There will be times when we are offended by others,
or we do the offending.
It is when we realize that the problem
often isn't the real problem,
that we can live a life of grace
both towards ourselves and for others.
And that is when the problem begins to be solved.
As for me,
give me double diamond slopes anyday,
just keep me out of Security Line D.
O Lord, You have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD
Psalm 139-1-4

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