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Hazmat Situation


I am a strange guy, I can admit to that.  I do things that many of my parishoners don’t understand – “Pastor, why would you go into a burning building?” I have done things many of my colleagues don’t understand,  “Dave, why did you rappel out of perfectly good helicopters?” I do some things that cause even some of my firefighting brothers and sisters to roll their eyes at, “Padre, you really like HAZMAT?”

I usually just smile and shrug, what can I say other than it’s who God created me to be.  After being diagnosed with PTSD a therapist once asked if I truly had a death wish.  Nah, I do these things because it’s who I am.  I am one of the people that go in when others are going out.  Doesn’t make me special, it makes me – well, me.

Recently I have been given the opportunity after a few years to do more work with our local HAZMAT team, even the possibility of earning my “Technician” certification which would allow me to don the encapsulated suits and enter into “Hot Zones” and deal with the contamination.  Friends, family, even fellow firefighters raise and eyebrow when they see my eyes sparkle when I talk about the excitement.

As I listened to the Palm Sunday/Passion reading this week from members of our congregation I thought about Jesus’ prayer in the garden, “Father, if you are willing let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but yours be done.”  We have seen the disciples look at Jesus as his face was set towards Jerusalem and try to stop him.  Peter, James, John are three that are mentioned, but the list may have been greater than those Gospel accounts.  Even Jesus wasn’t thrilled about the idea of going to the cross, and I can’t say that I blame Him.  I can’t imagine the pain and agony that crucifixion brings.

Firefighters enter buildings to save lives, to save property, to do their job.  Hazmat technicians enter Hot Zones to prevent contamination, to clean up hot messes.  Jesus entered our world, our lives, the cross to not only save lives, but to clean up the Hazardous spills that are inside many of our hearts, pollute our spirits, contaminate our faith.  I don’t know about you, but the reality of my sin, my pollution, and my contamination needs nothing less than a Savior – THE Savior – Jesus Christ our Lord.

Have a blessed Holy Week and a joyous day of Resurrection.










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