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March 8 Post

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible’.” Matthew 10:28

Keeping the trains on the track is harder than it looks. An unrelenting schedule holds the entire system together, while also placing it at risk. No time to shut the whole thing down, examine every wheel, coupler, air brake, horn. Logistics engineering, mechanical vigilance, personnel training, all need to hum along in synch for the engine, the box cars and caboose to fly down the tracks and arrive on time at their respective destinations.

Even when the whole show operates in synch, the environment poses a threat at every turn: someone messes with something, a crossing light fails, a car gets stuck on the track, some kid decides to cross the river on the rail. What could go wrong? In light of recent derailments, we see news commentators scratching their heads about how this could happen. Given the sheer magnitude of details required for every single trip, point A to point B, and an aging system and equipment, it’s a wonder something catastrophic doesn’t happen more often.

Given the magnitude of keeping an entire rail system on track and on time, you’d think we’d give ourselves a little more grace when our personal plans derail. Despite our frequent visits to the dermatologist for a little cut, a little freeze of that suspicious spot, or the primary care check-up that ends with a computer-generated list of further tests to check out that suspicious

part that you somehow know isn’t quite right.

One of my colleagues suggested that at a certain point in life, a sniper moves into our home and when we least expect it, takes out some essential body part: hip, eyes, lung, knee. Just when we patch the thing together so it can make another trip down the track, “ping”, another part needs attention.

We could live the whole of our lives biting our nails, waiting for the next shot that will shut down the system. Our friends nod knowingly over brunch when we launch into yet one more “organ recital” that details what’s not working today. But here’s the deal.

God created our spectacular bodies whole, perfect and beautiful in God’s own image from flawless blueprints with cosmic equipment. Despite faulty equipment, required maintenance, and occasional system failure, our trains manage to reach our daily destinations for decades without derailment.

We seem to think that we’re only worthy of the trip when we look and feel like 25-year-old Olympic athletes, but that’s not how the system works. In a typical year, freight railroads haul around 1.7 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods, operating in 49 states and the District of Columbia, over railroads running 136,000 miles.

The next time you’re stuck at a railroad crossing on your way to wherever it is you have to be, take a look at the wonder speeding by. If that rusty, aging, dented, overweight piece of equipment can manage to deliver most of our goods and services across this nation every day without incident, imagine what God can yet do through you.

Keeping the train on the track is indeed harder than it looks. Yet through the grace, mercy and peace of God, all things are possible.

Prayer: Thanks be to you O God, for creating us whole and beautiful and complicated. For the intricacies of every living cell and sinew, we give you thanks. For another measured circle of the sun, we give you things. For finding us useful for your sake and your glory every day, we give you thanks, Amen

The Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland, Senior Minister

The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida

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