This past weekend, we hit the road for Baltimore for a much-anticipated, long-overdue visit with sweet friends from our old small group. I am under the firm conviction that we all need people with whom we can pick up exactly where we left off, no matter the distance or time lapsed since the last visit. They are those kind of people. And it was lovely.
They are lovely. Their city is lovely. Our five collective kids were rockstars as they skipped naps/snacks/bathroom breaks while their oblivious parents caught up on life. Lovely.
The trip back home, however. Well. Suffice it to say that this suburbanite right here isn’t accustomed to DC traffic. Raleigh traffic is obnoxious, but DC traffic makes me want to straight-up sin. And massive trucks overturning DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF US on Interstate 85 just, I don’t know, makes me want to run for the hills of Amish country.
That actually happened yesterday, BTW. A giant truck just toppled over, mere feet away from us. While we watched. And gasped. No big deal.
Now. This would be a good time to confess that witnessing a medical emergency out in everyday life is one of my biggest fears. Being the lone medical professional on the scene of a major accident scares the junk out of me. I’m all about saving lives in the predictable and safe confines of clinics and hospitals, but performing CPR mid-bite at Chipotle? A small bit more frightening. I’m not sure what this says about me aside from the fact that it’s a darn good thing I’m not an EMT. Or firefighter. Or ER nurse. Or SO MANY OTHER THINGS.
Anyway, the truck flipped. We stopped. And, I ran. Actually I ran AFTER pausing and asking Matt some semi-rhetorical questions that went something like, “Uh, I should go, right? I mean. I’m a nurse. And there’s a wrong-side-up truck. And I probably should go help.” However, before I could even get to the truck, I was met by another faster-than-me responder who assured me that the driver was fine. Within seconds, he had been pulled from the wreckage and was miraculously okay.
It was stunning, really. Stunning that he was unharmed, yes. But you know what was just as beautiful? Watching dozens of commuters and road-trippers drop everything to help one stranger. Seeing people rush to the wreckage.
Some ran with Bibles and prayed. Others ran with armloads of blankets and snacks. Still others ran empty-handed as if to say, “I don’t have much to offer except myself.”
A whole swarm of road-weary travelers willing to do what it took to help another fellow traveler.
I just can’t shake this image because isn’t this exactly how we, as the church, should be characterized?
When we see wreckage, are we rushing to it? Or are we more apt to hide behind words like, “I’ll pray about it”? When we cross paths with the hurting or the oppressed, do we spend more time talking about, journaling about, reading about our personal “calling” in life? Or do we just sprint to the scene? Are we more interested in serving others on our terms? Are we waiting for a nice, controlled environment? Or are we people who are ready and willing to drop our flippin’ burrito at a moment’s notice so that we can be His hands and His feet. To be His body.
Church, there’s wreckage all around us. It’s everywhere. And, sure, there’s a time and place for praying about it and seeking counsel and considering our callings. Absolutely. But sometimes, we simply need to get a move on. We need to rush to the scene and sprint to the hurting. Some of us should be running with our Bibles and our prayers. Some of us should be running with arms overflowing with food and blankets. And, y’all, some of us should just start running empty-handed. Because sometimes the words, “I love you, and I’m here,” are the best balm of all.
Church, may we we be characterized not as people who simply hang out in the safety of pews and Bible studies but as a people who sprint to the hurting and who rush to the wreckage. May we be people far more concerned about meeting the needs of others outside of the church walls than having our own felt-needs met within.
Let’s live as people who are sent. Let’s be the first responders. Because there are some things we need to pause and pray about, but I’m pretty sure that showing up and loving others don’t fall into that column.