Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I heard an amazing quote in a interview yesterday. Bjorn Ulvaeus, one of the four members of the Swedish supergroup, ABBA, recounted how The WHO's Pete Townsend considered their song SOS the best pop song ever written. A friend of Townsend's backed up that compliment with the lament that Townsend played the ABBA hit non stop for a month and drove them all crazy. It just seems weird that one of the hardest rockers of all-time would love a song that many people would consider fluff. I should insert here that to many of the middle school girls I've taught over the years the initials SOS  are code for Some One Special which is code for I don't have a boyfriend yet but maybe someday! That's the kind of thing you pick up when you teach for a long time.

SOS, which is universally considered a signal of distress, has been in use since 1905 when it was introduced by the German government. In Morse code, it is three dots-three dashes-three dots continuously. Most people understand it is a warning of dangerous conditions. Alarms are useful, especially now with advanced weather alerts on the television and on cell phones. I recall tornado warnings as a boy in Nebraska as both terrifying and in an odd way, exhilarating. Our folks took them seriously and we spent much time in the basement. Everything now is alarmed it seems. Walk down the street and many homes list prominently the security company protecting their property. Newer cars, too, have alarms wired in to alert of possible theft attempts. But these go off so often I am convinced the majority of us ignore them for the most part. All this brings me to roughly seventy hours ago, late Sunday night or early Monday morning. A storm blew through Houston after midnight. I'm not sure how much rain we received but the thunder was booming for close to an hour. I was awakened but not by the thunder. As I live in an apartment complex, there are at least twenty-five cars within seventy-five feet of my bedroom window. I can't be certain how many were in this category but every time there was a thunderous crash, alarms went off, over and over again, I would guess for forty-five minutes at least. Finally, the storm passed over and the cars went back to sleep.... and I did too.

There never was any real danger but the assorted autos didn't know that. They just reacted to their programming. (I should note here my Honda has no such system!) You would have thought the end of the earth was at hand! In Luke 12, Jesus chastised a crowd He was teaching by telling them they could interpret the weather but they didn't know what was going on in their own world. He called them hypocrites for being correct in meteorology but clueless in the more meaningful signs of the times. I fear our culture is much the same. So many of us are experts in so many areas but not the ones that matters most. We are alarmed at employment rates and the price of a barrel of oil but not the sin engulfing the masses. We know previously unknowable private details of the lives of the rich and famous, often rejoicing when they stumble, and ignore the physical and spiritual poverty of untold millions. The pronouncement Jesus made against many of His time in Matthew 13:13 still rings true today:
 "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.'' 
The truth is we need to wake up. The car alarms shook me from my dreams three night ago but soon enough, I drifted back into the sleeping state. I pray we don't sleepwalk through the very grave dangers facing humanity in 2017.

Applicable quote of the day:
“Only one thing that you can see and hear that is beautiful and frightening at the same time, and that is a thunder storm.” 
 R.K. Cowles

To watch and listen to ABBA sing SOS, click or copy/paste the link below:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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