Let My Laughter Resound!
IS THIS ‘BLOODY SUNDAY’?
My wife and I, rather newly appointed to pastor a small local church in Ft, Collins, Colorado, were heavily involved in a variety of tasks and programs in our church. We were young and vivacious and enthusiastic, as we sought to do the tasks of outreach and nurture and hospitality. Because the church was so small, and because the number of volunteers was quite limited, Venita and I got our hands involved in a lot of work that might, in a larger church, be assigned to several laymen.
One involvement, among many involvements, Venita taught in the ‘children’s church’ program. As an artist, Venita, of course, used objects as ‘aids’ to teach small children. On one Sunday morning, probably a couple hours before the children’s church began, Venita asked me if I would cut a long dowel stick, into several short sticks (probably about six inches in length). I consented to do this simple job. The small dowel sticks were to he used by the children, to construct a small scroll. The scroll was to represent the scroll upon which The Ten Commandments were written on!
I went to my garage, and I wondered what kind of tool I would use to divide the long dowel stick, into several short dowel sticks, for use in constructing scrolls (in order to learn about Moses and the Commandments). I spotted a big shearer. The blades were tough and they were long. Just the ideal tool to ‘snip’ the long dowel stick into numerous short (6 inch) lengths!
I was successful in using that large shearer to snip off a few of the 6 inch long sticks, but (how it happened I still don’t know) I came down with those sharp blades, and caught the very end of my third finger, on my right hand! I not only felt severe pain (for there are a lot of nerves in the fingers), but, of course, the blood started to run down my hand! I was rather frightened, and I knew that I needed help! So much for the remaining dowel sticks that did not get cut!
Cutting the dowel sticks was productive, but cutting the end of my finger (nearly severing the end of my finger) – this activity was not productive! Seeing me that morning – using a larger shearer – no one would mistake me for a carpenter! Someone said (wisely) “Haste makes waste!” Another wise saying, “Using the wrong tool to do a job could be dangerous!” It was for me!
As my dear wife (much wiser than I am in practical matters of life) observed the ‘blood’ streaming down my hand, she (being the problem-solver that she is) called a kind-hearted gentleman, who lived a block from our house. Ernie (a long-time member of our church) rushed to our house. I held a rag around my finger, while he sped off to the hospital (emergency room).
He was so intent on getting help for me, that, while he was driving, he was not carefully watching other cars on the road. The traffic was ‘light’ on that particular quiet early Sunday morning, but, just as ‘fate’ would have it, Ernie side swiped another vehicle (just a few blocks from our house). But, just as providence would have it, the man whose car was side swiped, was a neighbor – a man whom Ernie knew! The man, seeing the nature of the emergency, minimized the accident, and he told Ernie that his car was not really damaged, and therefore, Ernie should quickly get the pastor to the hospital!
If it was ‘fate’ (mere chance) that Ernie hit the neighbor’s car, it was providence (God-controlled direction) that the neighbor man told Ernie not to worry about the minor accident, and to get on his way quickly to the hospital. (It could have been a situation where the neighbor would have been very possessive of his car, and where he could have made a ‘mountain out of a mole hill’!).
Even though it appeared that the tip of the middle finger, on the right hand, seemed to have come very close to being severed altogether, in reality, the cut was not as severe as the pain indicated, and as the amount of blood flow indicated.
As I lay on a bed, in the emergency room, and as the wound was being cleansed and stitched, a nurse whom I knew came near the bed where I was lying. I knew that she had a rather ‘dry’ sense of humor, so I should not have been surprised by the frank words that came from her lips! Her words were in the form of a question: “What’s going on? Is this ‘bloody Sunday'”?
Believe it or not, I got back to my home in time to change my clothes so that I could get behind the pulpit, to preach my Sunday sermon! With a bandaged finger, but, after all, even preachers can use a ‘little sympathy’ from the members of his congregation!
It has been more than 40 years since that ‘stupid act’ in my garage – using a large shearer to cut dowel sticks! I still can see the slight mark on the middle finger of my right hand! The mark which is the result of a preacher who knew nothing about ‘tools’ – and especially knew nothing about the proper tool that should be used to cut a long dowel stick into many short dowel sticks – to make scrolls to teach children important lessons about the Ten Commandments!
Through the many years since that ‘bloody Sunday’, I have preached hundreds of sermons. I have made scores of hospital visits. I have shared the Gospel with many prison inmates. I have written dozens of books. I have had scores of Salvation By Appointment bible studies where many folks have prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’. I have run thousands of miles, and have won a dozen trophies. I have mowed the church lawns numerous times.
I have laughed with others during the annual church potluck dinners. I have ridden hundreds of miles on my bike, side by side with scores of teenagers. I have taught lots of lessons to teenagers, and I have played dozens of games with persons of all ages. I have eaten hundreds of delicious meals, prepared and served by my wonderful and talented wife.
All of these experiences, experiences that have varied. Some experiences that required much: energy, motivation, skill and perseverance by me. Why have I not learned yet to do the simple ‘carpenter’ jobs? To be honest with you, I still don’t know what tool I would use if I were asked to cut short dowel sticks out of one long dowel stick! Knowing that I am ‘all thumbs’ when it comes to carpentry, I am sure that my wife would find someone else (the next time) to cut dowel sticks! I can’t blame her! It really hurts when you cut the end of your middle finger on your right hand!
“Biblical Foundation For The Sanctity Of Human Life!”