Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Church at 35 MPH

The Church of Christ rolls down life’s highway like a vehicle we drive for God.

Sometimes it’s a little compact,

tossed together from the bits and odds and ends

of our time and resources.

Sometimes it’s a showpiece full of glitter and glorious intentions

but running on low octane and poor performance.

Sometimes it’s an army jeep all outfitted for war against the world

and well camouflaged from making any impact.

Sometimes it’s a bumper car aiming at everything and everybody.

Sometimes it’s a school bus full of little kids

with one or two elderly chaperones to drive and nobody else on hand.

Sometimes it’s a fraternity van full of club members of

          the same narrow views, race, age, and kind.

Sometimes it’s a tractor trailer with the driver in the cab in front

and everybody else swinging back and forth in the separated back.

Sometimes it’s an armored car with a driver

          and a guard and a big endowment locked in the back.

Sometimes it’s a sleek and low slung sports car with just enough room

          for the very few, shooting by the worn and trudging many.

But sometimes it’s a yellow cab crawling at the people’s pace,

          available and hailed by the world-weary who want a ride.

And sometimes it’s a Red Cross truck racing into the thick of battle,

          picking up the wounded.

And sometimes it’s a relief truck bringing food and blankets and tools

to the needy.

Sometimes it’s a bookmobile full of wisdom

          or a patrol car to the rescue

          or an ice cream truck full of delight.

Sometimes it’s a long regal limousine, spit polished and shining,

          gloriously built with someone’s finest efforts and driven courteously and carefully with sober and loving alertness by God’s own chosen chauffeur.

And sometimes it’s a normal passenger van or público blending in with all the others, but empowered by God,

going fast enough to keep moving steadily on,

but slow enough to stop for all passengers who flag it on its rambling way through earth toward heaven.[1]




Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us be aware of one another for encouragement toward love and good deeds, not abandoning the assembling with one another, as is the custom of some, but encouraging and so much more, as much as you see the Day approaching.” [2]


In the Old Testament, the tabernacle travels with the people, bringing the nation to the glorious, promised land. In the New Testament, the church becomes the tabernacle, when the people continue to move forward together, encouraging each other in love and good works.

[1] This poem was written in honor of Rev. Paul Gilbert, a limousine driver, prison minister, and pastor of mercy at Pilgrim church, Beverly, MA, now traveling with the Lord.

[2] Translation by Aída.