If you’re like me, you have been pulled over a time or two. It’s usually when I’m distracted and not paying attention to how fast I’m going. OR I’m late for something and take the risk of being reeeeally late for something.
There are other people I know who tend to get pulled over at that specific spot where the speed limit changes from like 55 to 35 all-a-sudden and they take about 20 miles to decelerate. These people tend to be really annoyed when that cop is behind a tree or something right at the next mile marker after the ridiculously low speed limit sign. Paying a speeding ticket is a bummer for sure.
But you know what else is a bummer? Car accidents. Watching your car get towed. Or worse, emergency rooms or watching someone get put into an ambulance. Worst of all? Funerals. Funerals are a bummer. And incredibly inconvenient for everyone, not to mention more expensive than a speeding ticket and probably your bail.
All jokes aside, we have laws. We have laws for reasons, whether or not you agree with those.
But what many people tend to do, Christians especially, is act like speed traps. It’s like they’re just waiting at that specific spot, just so sure that some one some time is going to screw it up. Maybe they’re even hoping that they will catch someone because they love that rush of pulling someone over and throwing the book at them. What kind of people take pleasure in those things?
I’ll tell you something. The Church has historically been those kinds of people – the moral police standing just behind the speed limit sign and ready to pounce.
But there’s another way. Isn’t there? What if you were the kind of cop who waited before the speed limit changes? What if you were out in plain sight and acted like a caution to people? Like you’re saying, hey please slow down. We know that this area has bumps and curves and we think it’s best for you to go slower and avoid accidents. We want what’s best for as many people as possible and we want less casualties. What if there was a friendly officer standing at the sign and waving politely at people and handing out little stickers that said, Hey I slowed down to the speed limit today! With a sweet little emoji on it?
This is the Church. We act like cautioning people – creating opportunities to help people make better decisions BEFORE the situation changes, before the speed limit, the speed bump, the complex traffic circles, the strange blinking yellow traffic light where you go, wait, what does that mean again? We stand at the highways and byways in life and remind people that (1) they are loved, (2) they are not alone, and (3) they have the chance to change everything. They change their very lives with decisions they make. And it ripples out into the whole world.
We’re light houses. We build a strong structure on dangerous rocky cliffs. We beg those tossed and turned on the sea to avoid the treachery we know will kill them. We cast our message far and wide, don’t go this way! Such unneeded pain and grief lies here. Sail away. Sail away. Sail away. Who among us will keep the light? Who keeps watch? Will you watch with us?
Lord, make us light. Make us good cops. Help us to listen well, to love well, to point to life and true peace found in You alone. Keep us and make us as Jesus. For the kingdom’s sake.