Posted on Jun 18, 2020

21 June 2020

Several summers ago a former student who now lives in the Cities,

offered to take a group of us on a boat trip up and down the St. Croix.

I had never been on the St. Croix so I said, “Yes.”

My good friend Mike, also came along as well as several other former students.

It was a good reunion and also a sad one.

A couple of the students who used to be active at Newman, no longer go to church.

We chugged up the St. Croix from Hastings, put in at Stillwater for lunch,

and then up a little further, and then we turned around.

Just as we’re approaching Hudson on the return trip,

the former student blanched white.

I was sitting next to him and asked, “What’s wrong?”

He just shook his head.

And then, then, the engine stopped.  We stopped dead in the water.

“Well,” I said, try restarting it.”

“It’s no use,” he said.  “Why?”  I asked.

“Because we’re out of gas,” he said.

I don’t want to tell you what I said next.

Anyway we got someone to tow us in and finally got going again–just as it began to rain.

Not only did it rain, but it began to thunder and then bolts of lightening started.

When the thunder and lightening started the former students got very nervous.

The owner of the boat started heading for shore.

“Where are you going?”  I asked.

“We can’t be out on the water with that lightening going on,” he said.

He pulled into shore and immediately the “young people” jumped out of the boat.

Mike and I stayed on board.

The young people looked at us incredulously.

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” one of them asked.

Mike and I both looked at each other.

“You’re the ones who are supposed to feel young and invincible,” I said to them

“Yes,” said the owner of the boat, but not “young and stupid.”

Why is it that we are all more afraid of what kills the body and not the soul?

My young friends who are very conscious of their health–they run and jog,

who wouldn’t be caught dead in a boat on the St. Croix in a thunderstorm,

somehow have dispensed with the care of their souls.

But it’s not just them.

We all, I think are more afraid of what kills the body and not our souls.

Jesus tells us, in effect,

not to worry about our bodies because in effect they will pass away

–like sparrows or the hair on your head.

What kills the soul, is far more dangerous, because that brings the death that is real death.

No one was killed by lightening that day on the St. Croix.

I wonder though if some of those former students didn’t wonder about death–

not the kind that kills what is passing, but the kind from which there is no resurrection.