Pastoral Ponderings- Hit the Brakes!

When our nephew, Mike, was just a little guy, three or four years old, he sometimes seemed in his own world, but other times so aware that he would often call out “Hit the brakes! Hit the brakes!” on his family’s or on our travels together.  I’ve got both Mikey and brakes on the mind today—now nearing 40 years old, he and his wife are in the midst of a move from Cleveland to NYC.  We’ll be missing them!

And I have brakes on my mind too, as I am again with greasy hands doing one of the few things I’m still able to do for our cars that seem to have become hybrid computerized robots that provide transport.  Though we’ve been getting “lifetime warranty” brake pads, they don’t last that long at all, because of the rotors the brakes press against have been going bad.  I knew the rotor needed to be replaced last time, but I just couldn’t get it off to replace it.  I kept hearing the wisdom “get a bigger hammer,” but ran out of time, and had to put on the new pads knowing they wouldn’t last.  Now I have a bigger hammer, and have had to literally brake the part to pieces to get it off.

As long as they’re working right, we typically don’t think about brakes that much—until we need to “hit the brakes!” as little Mikey used to say.  But you’re not going to get to where you’re going without brakes keeping you out of the danger zone (movie reference, anyone?).  And in a broken and sinful world, we have plenty of “danger zones” where we need to hit the brakes before we get ourselves into trouble!  Neither is driving nor our faith are really all about hitting the brakes, even if some people seem to think religion is a long list of “don’ts,” and “stop this, stop that.”

Brakes are needed on our cars to keep us and those around us safe, and to make turns when needed to shift directions.  Spiritual “brakes” in the same way, keep us and those around us safe too, but that’s not what our faith is all about!  I’ve heard some people put it along the lines of “I’m too busy loving and being blessed with what we DO do, to worry that much about what we shouldn’t do!”

So whether it’s time to be thankful for the brakes that keep us safe in our cars and in our faith, or if someone you’re talking to thinks faith is only about hitting the brakes, it’s great to be reminded that brakes are wonderful tools we can’t life without—but life and faith are much more about the journey and loving those around us than just about hitting the brakes!  Keep on keepin’ on—sure, hit the brakes when you need to—but hit the gas when it comes to zipping around on the journey of blessing the world around us!  See you ‘round the next bend—Pastor Jim

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