The U. S. Route 30 highway that passes very close to our home is a most amazing piece of two-lane road. This route is heavily traveled by cars and trucks. And the truck traffic is comprised of many 18-wheelers, fully loaded, every day. While not steep, the road does have many ups, downs, and a few curves over the two- mile section that leads to our home. Yet unlike many other Pennsylvania highways, there are no potholes, no patches, and no apparent breaks in the pavement. I travel this stretch of highway many times each week.
Whatever the highway engineers did to design such a sturdy, damage resistant asphalt highway years ago certainly has worked. (Unlike some other PennDot highways I could name!) Occasionally, traffic is reduced to one lane. But that is always for a utility pole repair or some drainage work on either side of the highway. The road itself is consistently sturdy and smooth.
I need (and we all need) that kind of solid support and sturdy construction for the journey of life. We all need a “house built on rock” (Matthew 7:25), a ship that will withstand the storm (Mark4:39), a sure and certain sense that “nothing can separate us” from the Presence of God. (Romans 8:39).
No highway will protect us from erratic or drunken drivers or a blown tire. But we can rest a bit easier when the road is solidly constructed and clear of breaks in the pavement.
The late William Slone Coffin returned to his pulpit at Riverside Church in NYC after the tragic death of his son in a violent car crash. He said in that first sermon after his return, “God offers minimum protection…..but maximum support.”
The Christian life is largely a matter of putting ourselves in places that reinforce that conviction. I like these words from a fourth century monk:
Unless there is a still center In the middle of a storm….Unless a person in the midst of all their activities preserves a secret room in their heart where they stand alone with G,unless we do this we will lose all sense of spiritual direction, and be torn to pieces.
I like to think that weekly worship contributes deeply to this foundation and solid construction beneath our lives. Worship reconnects us with the reality of God and gives us handles on the nature of discipleship. I still believe that weekly worship matters in a day when many good folks are making “regular” mean once or twice a month.
Years ago, we had an independent contractor build a family room onto the back of our home. The process seemed painfully slow—waiting for the footers to dry, adding only a few concrete block foundation rows at a time. At one point I asked him why it was going so slow. I shall never forget his response: “Mr. Bauknight, unless the foundation is carefully put in place, the rest of the job cannot be guaranteed."