Something Doesn’t Look Right Here
The night was unusually dark and there were few cars on the highway. It was cold, but clear and a wonderful night for driving. As I pushed the ole S-10 North my eyes searched the darkness following closely in the path of the beams of my headlights. It was a wonderful night. Occasionally there would be a car or truck here or there, but for the most part, I was traveling alone. In the distance there was a black hearse that had passed me several miles back down the road. Only occasionally I would get a glimpse of his tail lights in a long stretch where there was a hill.
If any of you have ever driven behind me, you know that sometimes I drive like a cripple turtle. I get to thinking about something and somehow my brain tells my foot to let go… and it does. By the time I got within five miles of home, the hearse would have been several minutes in front of me.
As I tooled along, taking my time, through the darkness I noticed a car on the side of the road with his flashers on. It was just on the North side of the little town of Hosston, La., about five miles from home. As I passed by the car, I noticed that it was the hearse that had passed me twenty miles back. I remember how for a moment I blew a snicker breath as I passed by because of the irony of seeing a hearse stalled on the side of the road. I’m not sure why I didn’t stop and see if I could help. I guess it just never crossed my mind.
The next morning I left home just as it was getting daylight and headed back to work. By the time I reached the little town, the dawn was breaking into day. There on the side of the road, just in the same place as the night before, sat a long black hearse dead as a door nail. How ironic! You talk about an oxymoron! That’s an oxymoron!
Just think about this picture a minute. The very vehicle that is supposed to transport death, is sitting there covered in death. Actually, it was a eerie sight. I couldn’t get it off my mind. The night before it hadn’t captivated me like it did in the morning, because when I had passed it before, I didn’t know whether the driver was reading a map, taking a nap or just resting a moment. But, in the light of a new day, the hearse testified of it’s death. It’s longness and blackness lay stretched out on the side of the road in such a way that it caused me to turn and look for a grave marker.
The picture will not leave my head. It is so hard to conceive of the vehicle of death lying on the side of the road dead. Something doesn’t look right about that.
Of course, you know what my mind does. Like fireworks on the Fourth of July, explosions of pictures began their rapid display on the monitors of my mind. Picture after picture flashed, until in one swift moment one stood still… and I saw me standing in front of many of those I’ve come to love, because we share in the partnership of Christ through a common faith.
In the picture I was not facing the audience as I normally do, but we were all standing together as if we were listening intently to someone else speak. I studied the picture closely and tried to listen to the words that were ringing in all our ears. “How can you be called the children of light and the messengers of life if you are found on the road stalled and dead?”
In that one brief moment it was as if the Master was using the hearse as an example of inconsistency as He taught His church the importance of moving and sharing the message to the world. He was teaching us how inconsistent it is to be so full of life and vitality and sit idly by while the world plummets further into the grasp of the god of darkness.
I remember the shame I felt as this picture flashed across the lobes of my mind. My whole system wanted to shut down because of the picture. I wanted to feel exempt from the problem, but I kept remembering who was standing in the front of the crowd. It was then and there that it came to me. The hearse is a vessel of death and the church is God’s vessel of life.
God depends solely on His church to spread the Good News of life and living, and when we don’t, the picture to God is even more strange than the sight of the dead hearse was to me. I want to fulfill my purpose in life. How about you?