Concerning a Dodge Caravan … and Hope

Email Devotion For The Week Of Easter 3

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.   (Romans 12:12, NRSV)

We were the only two people in the building who were crying … literally … the only two of the dozens of people surrounding us at the local CarMax showroom.  We were signing over the title of our 1997 Dodge Caravan to the woman who was processing the deed for the used Toyota we had just purchased.  Our old girl who had helped teach both our kids to drive … who had moved them both in and out of college … who had maneuvered the chaos of a few dozen Penn State football weekends at which we attended the marching band show … who had taken us, our kids, and sometimes our two nephews to the Catskills or the beach or to Deep Creek Lake … who was the sole transporter of our five-year-old grandson when we were babysitting him in Lancaster.  Yes, our old girl had been condemned to death by her mechanic who pronounced her unable to pass inspection.

It was utterly ridiculous.  We knew that.  We had picked up a newer, safer, and clearly more attractive car that will no doubt serve us well, hopefully for the next 21 years.  But somehow, we just could not let go of the past.  We took pictures of her before her last trip with us in the front seats.  We spoke of her to the saleswoman and title clerk as if she was an actual person.  We grieved.  Yes, utterly ridiculous.  But I just could not let go of her.

I know this malaise will pass … it already is.  I will miss the old girl, but we will learn to enjoy her replacement.  The memories associated with her remain, and the blessings of our history with her will not be towed off to the junkyard, trapped behind her hatchback.  Life will go on.  God has assured us of this truth.  Sometimes these days, I look at a world which seems to function like our old rust-bucket — a world which carries good memories, but which seems to be used up and spent.  And I want to wallow in the malaise of that disappointment.  But God does not allow me to wallow very long.  I am confronted with joy at the laughter of a little boy at a children’s sermon … at the remarkable wonder of a world that brought us 80 degree weather one day and snow flurries two days later … at the arrival of a young couple moving next door to us with a child on the way … at the benediction of forgiveness which a colleague offers to me at just the right moment.  Our God of the empty tomb is a God of renewal … and God of hope … a God of life.  Even … and maybe especially … in the face of despair and death.  Thanks be to God for that.  It is a truth that is worth some of our prayer time this coming week.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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