BY T.F. STERN
Last Sunday I drove my clean and polished 1999 BMW Z-3 Coupe to church. As I pulled into the parking lot a few raindrops began to fall and it was a close call getting in the back door as buckets of rain fell.
I didn’t think much of it until after church when it was still raining. Driving from Madisonville back to Buffalo wouldn’t be near as much fun with the roads wet. I’d have to drive conservatively rather than my normal aggressiveness; letting the car have fun while going through the gears was not an option.
The last couple of miles to my property are on ‘county roads’. That means leaving the asphalt pavement and driving on crushed rock or dirt. If it’s dry then a cloud of dust follows you, covering the lower portion and back end of the car. If it’s wet the road becomes a slip and slide covering the lower portion and back end with a layer of mud.
Since it was still raining, all I wanted to do was park the car in front of the house and get inside; spraying off the mud would have to wait. As it turned out it waited all week. It was depressing just looking at my pretty green jewel sitting there covered with a film of dirt; but there were plenty of chores around the property that took priority.
One of the on-going tasks is splitting firewood from stacks of tree trunk sections that are behind our storage trailer. At one time that wouldn’t have been such an ordeal; but after you reach 70 there isn’t much get up and go in this body. So, after chopping a small bundle of firewood down to size it’s time to cool off, take a nap and try again later.
The property needed mowing, something I usually break down; doing the front two acres one day followed by the back acre the next. Feeling spry and wanting it done, I got all three acres mowed. That back acre needed to be double cut so it’s more like doing two acres.
Then today we drove down to Huntsville to get our grocery shopping done as we prepare for Independence Day; our kids and grandkids coming up to visit. I’m glad the property got mowed as it looks so inviting; but that dirty BMW sitting in front of the house wasn’t going to let me off the hook.
The tires and wheels were the worst so it took some heavy-duty chemical spray and a stiff brush to get them clean. Then the rest of the car got gently rinsed and hand washed with a wet rag. Lastly the towel down to remove water spotting and bring out the shine.
About this time, you might be wondering what this has to do with taking the Sacrament…
When we first bought this beautiful jewel of a car it was polished to the ‘9s’. It was as near perfect as a car could be, both in performance and looks. Time has required a renewal of its paint job; but once that was accomplished the beauty of near perfection returned.
Isn’t that similar to the act of being baptized? You start out nearly perfect, without sin or blemish and as you go about life you start to notice dings and blemishes that shouldn’t be there. Upon entering the waters of baptism those dings and blemishes are removed leaving you shiny and bright before the Lord.
But…then you have to get out in the world, earn a living, mix it up with others and the next thing you know there are dings or blemishes that need work.
That’s where attending Sacrament Meeting comes in. As this ordinance is performed you enter into a covenant with the Lord to repent, to get back to being the kind of individual He expects you to become. Just as with baptism, you come out shiny and bright, ready to continue doing your best.
That neat looking car in front of my house reminded me of this simple thought. We get covered in dust and mud all the time while on our way home. The ‘home’ I’m talking about is returning to our Father in heaven.
We park ourselves on the sofa, too tired to do much else followed by a night’s sleep and off we go again. Then on Sunday we have a chance to go through the ‘car wash’, figuratively speaking, and renew our efforts to become more Christlike.
So glad I took the time to wash my car this afternoon, gave me a chance to renew my spiritual self as these thoughts entered my heart and mind. Hope to see you at church…
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.