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Get the Connection

Sitting here along the banks of the Greenbrier River, just beneath the presence of the Church on the Knoll, I find myself at my sport, pondering. It is a question that must be answered within the corridors of my memory of the week passed before it drifts into the file cabinet that sometimes opens without reason. It is a bright Sunday morning in which I had a wonderful worship service with the Lord and our Church family. The message of Brother Simms was a conclusive word that gave case for the review of the week past. Now as I gaze at the swirling water that waves over the sunken rocks resting beneath I pay particular attention to the one that protrudes above the water line. The water rushes to the top and forms a mist as it returns to the flow of the river. Somewhere in the mist I see the hint of a rainbow reminding the promise of God that all things will work for good to those who love Him. I take comfort in this as even now I am learning the lesson of the moment.

My usual activities of the week carry me not far from the cabin in the meadow, Tom Lively’s feed store, and once now and then a reward trip to Betty Mae’s Taste Freeze for a highly decorated Banana Split. This week was exceptional as I was afforded an adventure to Capitol City with Newt Harper, the editor of the Ballengee Record. Newt had an appointment with the Governor Bob Timberlake to discuss the opportunity of hydro-electric power being produced from the damn. So early Wednesday morning even before the rosters crowed their early morning wakeup call Newt and I were on our way. The trip itself was an exciting respite from the rut that I so easily had become accustomed to in Ballengee. It was good to get away from the shelter of the comfort zone and see the beauty that lay just beyond the well-traveled paths of home.

We climbed up Jumping Branch on the narrow mountain road to the wide road that led to the seat of power for our great state here in the almost heaven. With ear popping twisting and winding up the mountains and drifting down into the valleys the wonders of the birthing sun and the fading shadows dancing across with each curve was a marvelous view to take in. Then once on the wide road Newt let all six cylinders of his Ford Galaxy pump enough power to race through the rolling hills of the high country. When we dropped down into the Kanawha Valley we curved along the banks of the still Kanawha River until the sight of the tall buildings of Capitol City shown in the quick glimpses of the horizon.

I had truly enjoyed this ride so far but now in the crowded confusion of the city I was out of my peaceful demure and found myself ready to rest in a quite less congested place. I was glad when we parked several blocks from the Governor’s Mansion and was ready for the stroll to his office. I soon learned that in the city strolling was not appreciated as everyone passed quickly by and I felt as if I was very much in their way. Newt was in the advance so I had to pick up my pace or be left in the smog of the mid-morning air from all the traffic horning their way through the streets.

Newt went in to visit with the Governor which left me with nothing much but time so I went and sat on a bench alongside of the road. I sat there for a while taking in the sight of all the city activity until a bus stopped and opened the door. The driver sat there impatiently looking at me. I didn’t quite know what to do so I just grinned and waved at him. He returned a sneer closed the door and drove on down the street. Thinking that maybe I was in a no sitting zone I looked across the street to see a Valley Bell soda shop. It was near lunch so I ventured to cross the busy street to visit the Bell. Once inside I looked across the wall at the pictures of the items they offered and my eye were captured by the sight of a huge Banana Split. It looked very inviting but I settled on a hamburger and fries with a cherry cola. It was good enough and filling but I must admit not near the goodness of those I have enjoyed at the Kountry Kitchen back home. The cherry cola was something I would have to tell Johnny about and hope he adds it to his menu. It was rather shocking when I paid the bill and had to spend .75 cents for the lunch. Wow! Big city, big sights and expensive.

I spent most of the rest of my time wandering the streets and being amazed at the different sights that you would never see in a small town. When I returned to the Governor’s Mansion I notice a Gazebo and bought a newspaper, another .20 investment and sat down to read the history of the news. I had read much of the newspaper and was being amused by Dagwood and Snuffy Smith when Newt tapped me on the shoulder. Newt said his meeting went well with the Governor but it wasn’t a yes or no conclusion. It was more of a “we will give it sometime to ferment” type of conversation and it ended with we will be in touch.

Newt and I walked together back to his car only to find that it would not start. I am always amazed how things can break when they are idle. Newt lifted the hood and we stood there together looking into the compartment searching through our lack of understanding of how things inside there worked. Newt checked the oil and water and other fluids while I jiggled all the wires I could find. I don’t think either one of us accomplished anything but when we got back in the car it started right up. Of course I said it was just a loose wire and Newt said the cap on the radiator was loose. Either way the motor was humming so off on the return trip we went giving the matter no more thought.

We had almost forgotten the difficulty of the unwilling engine till we left the flatness of the valley and started to climb back into the hills. There was a vibration throughout the car and I do think it was only running on four of the six cylinders. Not knowing any better we just kept prodding along with each hill giving the Ford more of a challenge until it finally just stopped running. Lifting the hood again Newt and I exchanged places and I checked the fluids and he jiggled the wires. Neither of us being mechanically minded we were just hoping against hope that one of us would do something that would fix the problem. We fiddled around and got back into the car and it started right back up. Off we went wondering what next to happen?

The rest of the ride on the wide road wasn’t too bad, a little shaky going up but coasting down was okay. We both knew without saying that when we got to the narrow road going down through Jumping Branch it was not going to be a good ride for us. We thought maybe we should be a little smarter about this and stopped at a service station once we got of the wide road.

When we pulled into the service station and tall greasy man can up to us with his name on the shirt Bob. “What can I do for you?” Said he. Newt explained the situation and we popped the hood of the car and Bob looked around for a while. Newt stayed close to the front of the car while is sat inside looking around in all the places that money might be hiding. I was kind of wishing that I had not spent the .95 cents as we might now be in need of it. As I was making another check beneath the mats I heard Bob shout “Bingo!” I should have known that Newt, who had connections with the Governor would also have a little nest egg in his pockets to pay Bob with. With Bob paid off we went down the narrow road to Ballengee.

The Ford Galaxy was running as great as it ran before it broke parked back there in Capitol City and that made the trip once more enjoyable. I asked Newt what Bob had done to make the repairs. Newt began to explain to me that the number four cylinder wire to the distributor cap was badly corroded. Bob removed the wire and cleaned the area with baking soda removing all the corrosion from the area. Bob also replaced the number four and five wire because they both appeared to have cracks which might also cause a bad connection. Newt also said that Bob replaced the distributor cap because number four and six positions had dysfunctional taps and would cause loss of performance. Bob had done all of this work for the amazingly low price of 1.75 dollars and said that if it wasn’t right just make the thirty mile trip back and he would give it another shot. Well I had no idea what Newt was talking about so I asked, “What was wrong with the car?” “It had lost its connection.” Replied Newt.

Now I find myself sitting here along the banks of the Greenbrier wondering how Brother Simms knew I had not understood the events of our adventure to Capitol City. As I have said before Brother Simms is not a dynamic speaker but his value in delivering the Word is that it comes from his heart. Maybe it is not that Brother Simms is a prophet but that the Good Lord was helping me to understand what I had not understood. Maybe it was just because I hadn’t gotten the point of this past week’s adventure. Every now and then our loving Lord has to turn on the light for us and then pray that we leave it on.

Brother Simms taught out of Colossians this week and as always it was just the right message. His message came from Colossians 2:19. “Holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” As we go through life we are traveling up and down through the hills and valleys of life and if we are right the up can be handed as well as the down. Sometimes the up is good and the down is bad and visa versa. But if all our cylinders are hitting we can handle each circumstance just as well.

The Cylinders are love, as God is love. God gives us His love and by it we learn to have a true concern for the spiritual welfare of all those we meet. We are to love our neighbors as we love our self. In the economy of this world everyone is our neighbor. We have the commission to tell the gospel story of Jesus Christ that everyone will have the opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. If we have love, then we can express our love by trusting His Word by our faith in acting on His Word. Jesus said that if you love me then you will keep my commandments. This is faith, to trust Him and act upon His Word. By our love and faith we find hope. This is not the hope we find in the world which is not much more than a wish or fantasy, this is hope found in the promises of God. The cylinders that we go on is, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

What if one of these cylinders miss-fires? There would be a loss in the power that we have available to us in the Holy Spirit. What has happened to cause this loss? It is the same as what happened to Newt and I and his automobile. The corrosion of sin had blocked the connection. Our life is in Christ and if we are to live abundantly then we must be connected to the source, Jesus Christ. Sin in our life distorts that connection, it weakens the fellowship. Did not disobedience distort the fellowship between us and our parents? Disobedience also distorts the fellowship between us and our heavenly parent, our Heavenly Father.

For an old hillbilly from the almost heaven brother Simms has the wisdom of the ages. As I set here staring at the misty rainbow as it forms from the spay of water flowing across the rock it has become more vivid to me. Each color of the bow is a sure promise from the Lord that through the baptism of His Spirit I get the connection.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

September 11, 2014

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