Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life Saving Station

AWe are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works.@ (Ephesians 2:10)

The following modern parable was told by the Rev. T.O. Wedel of the Washington Cathedral about the light houses and Alife-saving stations@ still found along North Carolina Outer Banks.  As you read, consider how the lesson it teaches could be applied both to the older son in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), and to us today:

            AOn a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station.  The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.  Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.  Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work.  New boats were bought and new crews were trained, and the little life-saving station grew.
            Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped.  They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.  So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building.  Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as sort of a club.  Fewer of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life-boat crews to do this work. 
            However, the life-saving motif still prevailed in the club decoration, and there was even now a liturgical life-saving boat in the room where club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crew brought in boat loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people.  They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin.  The beautiful new club was considerably messed up.  So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of ship wrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.  At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership.  Most of the members wanted to stop the club=s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. 
            Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station.  But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people which were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast.  So they did.
            As the years went by, however, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one B it, too, evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded.  History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore.  Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people now drown!@

As we welcome new guests each week at our worship services and other activities, I hope you=ll remember our true purpose and Areason for being@ as a congregation at East Cobb United Methodist Church.  Far from being an exclusive Aclub@ just for “older sons (& daughters),” we are a life-saving station for our world and community!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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