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.
Summertime in America,
It’s all about baseball, hot dogs and……..oh no, not that…….
The cars were coming up the highway by the hundreds.
If you happen to be in north central Pennsylvania in late August,
you can’t help but notice the migration
of thousands of fans to the Little League World Series.
I was in the vicinity that day, coming from a prison visit.
While heading home, I realized that I needed
to get something to eat for lunch.
The only food option around was a convenience store.
It was an older style store of which the exterior walls were glass.
As I entered, I found a hot dog rotisserie.
The smell of frankfurters cooking quickly lured me.
The rotisserie was next to the wall,
so I had a full view of the parking lot.
While I pulled out two buns,
I saw a van pull up in the parking lot.
Out sprang an all-American family,
no doubt headed for the little league game.
The son had a baseball glove
and the daughter was wearing a baseball cap.
The father was escorting his daughter towards the store
for what appeared to be a bathroom stop.
Instead of coming in,
the father and the daughter came up to the wall of the store,
just feet away from me on the opposite side of the glassed wall.
It seemed somewhat odd but I smiled
and continued to choose over the best looking hot dogs.
The father smiled back nervously.
I thought it odd that they chose to stand at the outside wall
gazing so carefully at me while I was preparing my lunch.
I am not quite sure about specifics of hot dog rotisserie etiquette,
but it seems that there should be a buffer space
similar to that of an ATM machine,
even when separated by a pane of glass.
It was somewhere between the application
of the mustard and the ketchup that I realized what was going on…..
The all-American girl was sick and was losing her cookies
into the parking lot waste can……
two feet away from me.
Now some things just don’t go together…….
Upchucking and hot dog preparation is another.
Only a thin layer of glass
separated my condiments from utter vileness.
The father now realized that I was preparing my lunch,
as his little girl was losing hers.
There are many sacred and high holy moments in any man’s day.
Preparing a meat sandwich is one of them.
Having invaded my inner sanctum of meat preparation,the father feebly offered an “I’m so sorry” gesture through the window pane.
but nothing says “let’s skip lunch”
like an unobstructed frontal view of regurgitation.
But as the champion of sacred moments that I am,
I pressed on.
As I reached for the relish packets,
Little Miss Shortstop lost it again.
The resemblance of the relish to the projectile
was more than I could bear.
I bagged my hot dogs,
headed to the cashier,
and paid for a lunch that would never be eaten.
As I left the store,
the father now offered a verbal “I’m so sorry,”
while his little princess continued to expectorate.
Sometimes, a kind deed is just as important as a word.
I offered him my napkins,
knowing that the hot dogs were of no good to anyone.
“I hope she feels better” I said.
And with that,
I departed knowing that I would never again
view hot dogs the same way.
As a Christian,
I should and need to be moved
when the lovely things of my world
are confronted by the unlovely realities of other’s worlds.
Each day, I return home to a comfortable residence,
while many in the world live in sub-standard or no housing.
I receive hearty and delicious meals several times a day,
knowing that children throughout the world go to bed hungry.
I have excellent medical resources at my disposal when I feel ill
while many in the world die prematurely from preventable diseases.
I live in a land that is relatively safe
while others dwell in war torn countries.
How do we as people of faith reconcile all of that?
It starts with an abiding sense of gratitude.
But it needs to go further.
Gratitude should prompt us to action.
None of us can end world hunger,
or cure all diseases,
or build suitable housing for all of the world.
But we can make a difference in at least one person’s life.
What if the Body of Christ all rose and did so?
No one needs to see vomit while preparing their lunch.
But seeing can and should lead us to compassionate and healing works.
Jesus told us as much…..
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,
and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
It’s interesting to note that Jesus predicates this on His return to the Father.
It’s because it is then that He sends the Holy Spirit to empower us.
We are without excuse.
And sometimes we need to see the unlovely immediately in our faces
to move us to service.
It’s not always pretty.
Just remember to bring extra napkins…………