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, March 4, 2015

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Sliding Into God's Arms

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.

It’s not good to walk on thin ice,
nor tread on slippery slope,
and definitely not both at the same time…..

My driveway has a reputation.
It has been nicknamed “Mini-Mt Everest,”
“Death by Double Diamond,”
and  “Church’ because it is the place where many meet Jesus.

Yes it is a bit steep.
Throw in a hairpin curve near the top
which is shaded by trees on the north side of a hill,
and that adds up to a boatload of winter fun.

Because of that, from November to March, I must be prepared…….

I have more salt in my garage than an order of extra-large McDonalds fries.
and my emergency car winter kit
consists of a shovel, an ice pick, and avalanche gear.

My schedule during the winter time
is determined completely by my driveway.
The mere mention of snow flakes
and I am headed for home.

This winter has been most unkind….
storm after storm after storm.
And March decided to add sleet and freezing rain to the party.

Last weekend was particularly adventurous.
I awoke to a half inch of ice
that made my driveway resemble a glacier.

Nothing says winter fun like treading down an double diamond incline
with a wheelbarrow of salt, a shovel, and a prayer.

On this particular frozen Friday,
my two dogs decided to join me on this expedition into the tundra.
The golden lab is two years old while
the springer spaniel is still a puppy and acts like it.

Hannah, the grownup golden lab, quickly learned that sitting on the house porch
was by far, the best option.

Bushwacker, the adventurous springer puppy……not so much.

I was spreading rock salt to the middle latitudes of the driveway,
when I heard a whimpering.

Baby Bushy had ventured out onto the top part of the driveway
to explore the magical world of ice.

This was not a good idea.

Baby Bushy had belly flopped onto the ice.
Looking like an inverted Olympic luger,
he was slowly careening down the upper incline of Mini Mt Everest.

There is that look of terror that arises on one’s face,
whether human or canine,
similar to the passengers’ faces on the movie, Titanic,
when one realizes they are completely powerless to avert a disaster.

At that moment,
Baby Bushy thought he only had one problem.
Actually, he had two.

Aside from taking the biggest ride of his life,
gravity was also propelling him towards the edge of his shock collar boundary.
Bushwacker was about to get bushwacked!

In an instant,
I was transformed from road worker
to rescue officer.

I quickly scaled the side of the driveway
using the packed snow to give me traction.

As I drew closer to his whimpering face,
I knew that I had only a matter of seconds
to stop him before he reached his shock collar boundary.

I’m coming buddy. You’re gonna be alright.”
I told him as I scrambled to figure out
how I was going to be able to reach him
five feet away from the edge of the driveway.

I put my shovel out as a life buoy.

Baby Bushy glided into his trowel of salvation
and held on with four paws.
The crisis reached a new level as his shock collar
started beeping warning him he was too close to his border.

Whimpering became cries.

It’s okay buddy. I’m not gonna let anything hurt you.”

I used the shovel to gently shove him uphill
until I could reach him with my hands.

As relieved as Baby Bushy was,
his Master was even more so.

What  makes us humans not realize that
we are just as protected?

In that moment I would have done anything to rescue
the one that I love.

How much more will God do the same.

As we journey through Lent,
is your reality one that knows that you
are cared for and protected at all costs?

And as you face a crisis,
you have one who loves you so much
that He will do whatever it takes to reach out,
and rescue you from wherever you are falling,
and pull you into His loving arms.

We spent several minutes laying in the snow,
plenty of face licks and plenty of hugs.
Lots of reasons to be grateful.

As you journey to Easter,
may you realize
that you have exactly the same reasons to be grateful.

“Greater love has no one than this,
that one lays down his life for his friends.”
                                                                        John 15:13

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