I absolutely love this time of year. I love the cooler temperatures, and the beautiful Fall colors. I love the fact that football is being played with fervor and passion by kids and adults. I love the foods that we eat in the Fall. I love to cook spicy dishes and eat anything that suggests that it’s Fall.
One thing that doesn’t get me excited about Fall is what happens every other year. I’m speaking of the election cycle, and all the nastiness associated with it. I had forgotten what it is like to live in a media market that crosses state lines. Here, we have to sit through radio and television ads that attack candidates both in Virginia and in Tennessee.
So, I’ve learned that both candidates for Senate in Tennessee are lying, good-for-nothin’s that should get off the stage. I’ve learned that candidates to represent us Virginians in the House of Representatives are crooks, thieves, and one even accuses the other of spreading cow manure.
Our President is traveling around the country calling everybody names, while our last President is traveling around the country pointing out that our present President might be dishonest. Fox News says CNN is biased. CNN says Fox News is not really news at all. MSNBC shares its insights with all three of its viewers, and the major networks have lost the respect of much of the country.
Don’t you miss the good old days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil fought like cats and dogs and still respected each other? When Republicans and Democrats alike pushed Richard Nixon out the door, together? When Senators actually debated issues instead of grandstanding for the cameras? Our politics have just become too coarse.
Here’s my promise to you: I’ll keep my politics to myself, since I love both Democrats and Republicans. I’ll still respect you, even if we disagree politically. I’ll be an adult. The world needs some of those right now.
On November 7, we’ll awaken to a new day. The political ads will be finished. Everybody will pretend to kiss and make up. Then, I fear that nothing much will change. So, I think perhaps the song we sing might be a good prayer to offer:
Let there be peace on Earth,
And let it begin with me.
I’m Dale Gilbert, and I approved this message. What we do here matters.
The story I share with you today is purely fictional. The fact that it sounds a lot like a real incident should be ignored. The fact that it sounds like Dale and Angela Gilbert should also be ignored.
A husband and wife recently went to a gathering where parking was at a premium. While the husband was pulling into the parking lot, his wife’s phone rang. She answered it, and it was her sister calling her. Since the husband was thinking ahead about exiting the event, he chose to back the car into a parking space, so that when the event was over, he could pull forward and be a bit ahead in the line to get out. Since his wife was on the phone, she paid no attention to what her husband was doing. Now, I know this couple well, and I know that the husband rarely backs his car into a parking space, because that husband isn’t really good at backing his car into a parking space.
The phone conversation finally ended, and the couple went into the event and had a good time. On the way to the car, the husband had to remind the wife where their car was parked because she had been on the phone with her sister. The husband pointed to the car and told his wife to get in. The wife informed the husband that this was not his car. She reminded him that he never backs his car into a parking place, so this couldn’t possibly be his car. The husband told the wife, “It’s OK. We’ll just take this car.” The wife couldn’t believe that the husband was able to open someone else’s car. It was only after seeing inside the car that the wife realized that this was, in fact, her husband’s car. She asked, “Who backed this car into the parking space for you?” “I did,” replied the husband. “No, really, how did this care get backed into the space?” It took some convincing, but the husband finally convinced his wife that while she was concentrating on the phone call, he had backed the car into the space. The wife, who knows full well that her husband can’t back a car into a parking space, was both surprised and impressed.
What the wife didn’t realize was that the husband’s car is equipped with a back-up camera. She didn’t realize that with this extra help, her husband has become pretty good at backing into spaces.
We all need a little help sometimes, don’t we? And then there are times that we need more help than we think we can ever find. Today, we come to the Lord’s Table. More than once, I’ve found help there. May we find the help we need today.
See you at the Table. What we do here matters.
Dale has been in ministry for over forty years. He's a teacher, singer, and story teller.