Thursday, August 03, 2006


The convoy of emergency vehicles moved slowly through the apartment complex parking lot. Those in the lead began to turn around and pass the vehicles behind them. Vehicles represented the Police Department, county Sheriff’s Office, State Police, Narcotics Task Force, city and county Animal Control, Forest Rangers, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, National Guard, Emergency Management Agency, the 911 Coordinator, Red Cross and a variety of municipal and government offices.

It was the 23rd Annual National Night Out crime and drug prevention event. It began with several neighborhood watch groups convened in the police parking lot and then the caravan of emergency and government vehicles wound through city streets to visit several other watch groups.

Cheryl and I were toward the back of the line, directly ahead of two highly recognizable Red Cross trucks. When the beginning of the procession circled and began passing us, one State Trooper’s face registered his surprise as he caught his first glimpse of our “inconspicuous” transportation – a bright orange duelly with Red Cross decals on the doors and Red Cross flags flying from the windows.

Yes, last year I was inadvertently issued a Paul-Bunyan-size bright red shirt that began at my chin and ended at my knees, and this year I rode in a bright orange duelly with a step bar above knee level and the seat well above my chin. I can’t wait to see what the next NNO brings.

For anyone who has no idea of what a duelly is, it is the Clydesdale horse of pickup trucks. It is larger and stronger, which makes it a good choice for folks who pull a horse trailer. The back of the truck is wider because it has dual wheels. This is not the type of vehicle one should use as a getaway car during a holdup. It is about as inconspicuous as a bright orange thumb. I spotted it while it was two blocks away, standing out above the other traffic, and I am not nearly as observant as law enforcement officers.

This started me thinking about the times my conscience bothered me so much I felt as if I was riding around in a big, bright orange truck with my sin emblazoned on the doors and my guilt flying flags to draw everyone’s attention to what I did that I wanted to hide. I felt my sin was public knowledge, everyone knew about it, was talking about it, and was judging me for it. Many of you can undoubtedly relate.

Chances are in many cases that few, if any, were aware of what I did wrong. But God always knows. I can not hide my sins from God. Neither can I avoid the penalty: For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23

However, there is also good news in the same verse: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ paid the wages for my sin – and for your sin.

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