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December 7, 2012


So I Blasted the Horn

I was driving to pick up my son this afternoon.  I came up to an intersection with a green light in the distance and a long line of cars sitting still in front of me.  I grumbled and then noticed the lights of an ambulance in the intersection, poised to turn left across our lane.

There was a flash of red in my peripheral vision and a car in the left lane shot toward the intersection and the traffic-obscured ambulance. 

Without thinking but reacting to the danger, I laid on my horn.  The red car braked and stopped - the ambulance “whooped” its siren twice and made its turn.

There’s stuff I’ll never know:

Did the driver of the red car hear my horn, or just see the ambulance?

Did the drivers in front of me think, “What an impatient, selfish jerk to be honking when we are stopped for an ambulance” ?

Did the crew of the ambulance think, “Thank God that guy hit the horn” or “What a dork” ?

I’ll not know.  But hitting the horn was the right thing to do.  A warning was necessary.

Gregory the Great, and others I’m sure, say that all good preaching should contain a measure of warning.  Encouragement and hope as well, but warning should not be neglected.  Salvation is rescue from danger, after all, and dangers must be exposed.

Some will think us jerks and/or dorks for preaching warnings.  Plenty will ignore or misinterpret what we say.  But say it we must.  We can’t know all the impact of the words, only that they need to be put out there.

Advent, after all, began with a blast of the horn.


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4 comments

Thanks for that Advent tale.  Having grown up in the NY metropolitan area where horns are equal in value to brakes, honking my horn is a lifelong habit I still employ.  Keeps me from swearing.

[1] Posted by hanks on 12-8-2012 at 11:04 AM · [top]

Yeah, that’s an interesting comparison, hanks.  Having lived in NYC during seminary, I can attest that the horn there is a form of “normal” communication. 

Here in Sioux Falls, it is more like an Advent prophecy - it means something big is happening.  There in NYC, horns are more like the regular rebuke and correction of congregational life assigned to pastors in the Epistles.

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 12-8-2012 at 01:18 PM · [top]

Well said, Fr. Tim. I had wave after wave of “witness” as I was reading this post. We sorely need warnings and corrections in our trajectories. Am truly thankful for those faithful pastors (such as yourself) who have the courage to go out on a limb.

The Lord has confirmed to me time and again of late that He wants to use me as a watchman on the wall, yet I acknowledge that knowing when to speak and what to say, as well as when to be silent is not easy. I pray that I will be sensitive to His voice and “proclaim” only when so instructed by Him.

Some will think us jerks and/or dorks for preaching warnings.  Plenty will ignore or misinterpret what we say.  But say it we must.  We can’t know all the impact of the words, only that they need to be put out there.

So true! God bless you, Fr. Tim!

[3] Posted by merlenacushing on 12-8-2012 at 10:41 PM · [top]

Fr. Tim,
In season or out of season. Week two of Advent.

[4] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-13-2012 at 11:31 PM · [top]

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