A few months ago I decided to go to Mass at a church I regularly go to, and I decided to go about a half hour early and pray. So I get there in my car and I’m there for a while, and it’s getting close to the time for the Mass to start. Everything’s quiet, the place is kind of dim. Then, a young guy comes into the church walking around, going up to people one by one and saying something to them. They are shaking their heads, no. And then he moves onto the next person, going to everyone. He comes up to me: “Did you park out front?” “No,” I said. He moves on. People are saying no, and then he gets to one person who gets up and walks out.
A few minutes later, an old friend who works for the church there comes out from the “inner parts” of the church for the Mass. He comes over to say hi, then he says, “They are towing outside, did you know that?” “No, but I’m not parked out front. I’m on the side street over there.” And I pointed happily with my hand over yonder, relieved and, frankly, not in any mood to go getting another parking spot in the graveyard of parking spots known as the Back Bay of Boston. “Well, they tow on that street too.” “What?” I was off.
The first thing I see when I get outside is that there is not a single car parked out front. And no tow truck, either. Which means … the side street! So, I take off running for the side street. Now because of the buildings on the street, you have to get to the corner in order to see what’s going on on the side street. So I reach the corner, still hoofing it, and as I turn, this is what I see: A line of now empty parking spaces, yellow flashing lights on a tow truck ready to back up to the next car. Which is MINE. They are only waiting for the police officer to write a ticket. So I ran, and I smoothly get to my car and unlock it before any cop can write a ticket, and start to get in. One of the tow workers standing on the side smiles and yells, “Great timing! That’s 150 dollar timing!” You. Are. Telling. ME!
Needless to say, I was very thankful of my messenger.
See, I believe that. I believe that when we are in trouble, God sends a messenger with some very important information for us, that will save us from the danger. And the timing is perfect. It’s 150 dollar timing. It’s Thanksgiving timing.
I just learned something about Squanto, the name might ring a bell. Squanto was kidnapped by some European profiteers from the Plymouth area, before the pilgrims arrived. He was taken to Spain, but since Spain was under a Catholic king that didn’t allow slaves, he had to be released, and he eventually found his way to England. He spent a couple of years in England, and finally found a way to make it to the coastal lands of Canada. There, he finally convinced someone to help him return to his native land, and when he arrived, he found that all his people had been conquered by Massasoit, chief of another tribe. So, he was captured by Massasoit, and then …. the pilgrims arrived. Now there was a problem between the pilgrims and Massasoit, so who was there that could help out? Who could mediate? Well, the native who spoke English, that’s who! So Squanto worked out a deal to mediate and help the pilgrims, just as winter was coming. Hello, English pilgrims … what’s that, your seeds don’t grow here? Let me introduce you to corn. Don’t know how to make a warm dwelling for the winter? I’ve got years of experience. Can’t communicate with the local natives and negotiate some sort of peace to be able to survive a brutal winter like you’ve never experienced before? I happen to speak both languages. The pilgrims needed that messenger, and they needed him at that exact moment. It was miraculous-survive-a-horrible-winter-and-suspicious-hosts-in-a-completely-foreign-land timing.
I think that in all of our lives, there are times when God sends someone to help us, no, to SAVE us, with a very important message. That’s what today is about, it’s a great time to dust off the memory and remember them – with their perfect, $150, miraculous-winter-surviving, you-fill-in-your-own-blank timing.
I will give thanks to God with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9)