As the Giants were warming up for yesterday's Bowl, a van carrying six missionaries was traveling along a Colorado highway. Possibly about the time a scalper scored $1000 per ticket for a party of four, the driver of a jeep in front of the vanload of missionaries had a heart attack and fell over the wheel. As Terry and Howie and Jerry performed a mike check, the jeep in front of the van lost control and the van couldn't avoid hitting it. And as last year's American Idol winner was singing the national anthem, four people in the vanload of missionaries were fighting for their lives. There were six missionaries riding in the van. The other two? They died as confetti fell from a makeshift heaven in Arizona.
Yea though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we're to fear no evil, for his rod and staff, they comfort us.
Such are the words of the psalmist this morning.
The words of the post-modern-day-psalmists (commercials) yesterday were phrases like: follow your heart and wake up.
If I put all those words in the Yahtzee cup and roll 'em around and throw 'em out on the table, I find something that sounds like this: Wake up, for we're driving or walking or standing or sitting in the valley of the shadow of death. As we're following our hearts in this valley which stretches from Arizona to Colorado and to the ends of the word, we're not to be afraid, even if the heart we're following gives out and we fall over the wheel of the jeep, causing the vanload of missionaries behind us to crash and two of the missionaries, who were following their hearts, die. We're not to be afraid because the shepherd LORD's rod and staff are comforting us.
You say, "John, please don't mix those words together."
I say, "Sorry, we've got to. If you're going to live in the valley (apparently our only choice), then you've got to live with the flat-out-doesn't-make-sense nature of the valley and a shepherd's staff which comforts in ways beyond our definitions of 'comfort.'"
The Giants played a great game.
Authorities will release the names of the two missionaries sometime this morning.
Be near to us, O LORD.