“Never Holler ‘Whoa!’ In a Bad Spot”
“Never Holler ‘Whoa’ In a Bad Spot”
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4/ Ephesians 1:11-23
Have you noticed how every occupation seems to have its own language? Just sit across the table from a group of engineers or doctors or, heaven forbid, teachers and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In the same way, every occupation seems to have its own lingo; unique sayings and expressions that just happen over the years from people who work together to do this work. The oldest joke in the books is the elevator operator who will tell you that his job has its ups and downs. I spent enough time in the woods that I have collected a truckload of colorful expressions – most of which I can’t repeat here. But there was one that stuck with me; one that a fellow named Gordon used to say all the time: “Never holler ‘Whoa!” in a bad spot-” he’d say it all the time. It made a lot of sense to those who knew Gordon because that’s how he lived: full speed ahead, no hesitation. On the very first week my son had his driver’s license, he approached an intersection going way too fast for a road that was covered with ice. The way he explained it to me was, “I say that pickup coming, but when I hit the brakes it just started to slide. That’s when I remembered what you always used to say – Never holler whoa in a bad spot – so I punched it. I almost made it, too, but he couldn’t stop any better than I could.” The moral of the story, I suppose, is don’t invest a lot of money in your kid’s first car.
Today is the Sunday we choose to celebrate All Saints Day. It was one of John Wesley’s favorite “Special” days in the church calendar year, and I’d have to agree with that sentiment. With Thanksgiving right around the corner and as we approach the season of Advent, it’s a good thing; it’s a good thing that we force ourselves, in a way, to take a little breather and give some credit – give some recognition – to the saints that have blessed our lives. It’s a good thing and hopefully it will cause us, once again, to remember that we aren’t that special – not by ourselves. I mean, think about it -every word we speak, every habit, every quirk and peculiarity that we possess has been learned from someone, somehow, somewhere along the way. Our lesser selves, our greater selves, even our not-so-exciting selves are pretty much a result of the people and ideas that have touched our lives. They inspire us, and when we are inspired, we are changed.
Who are the saints in our lives? Not everyone gets to grow up with Augustine for an uncle or Mother Teresa as their next door neighbor. But we’ve all got them. It could be the mother, the father, the relative that believed in you when no one else would. It could be a neighbor or a teacher; it could be the guy that works on your car or the gal that does your taxes. There’s no clear cut definition. They don’t have a defining look about them. But one thing is for certain: we know the saints in our lives because they give us hope, they bring us peace, and, as Paul says, they open the eyes of our hearts. The saints in our lives inspire us and when we are inspired, we are changed.
So, let’s honor the saints in our lives: they are the ones that pushed us when we needed pushed; they are the ones that would always find a way forward when we wanted to go back. They are the ones that would never holler ‘Whoa’ no matter how bad things looked to be. These are our saints.
You know, there’s always been plenty of gloom and doom to go around – it’s never been in short supply. I just thank God every day for the saints in my life – for their faith, for their humility, and for their love of the Lord, our God. My hope is that we, as the body of Christ, will never forget and always be inspired by the saints who have come before. May they be with us forever and ever.
Amen & Shalom