Sunday, May 13, 2018

In the Toss of a Coin

A paraphrase of Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26 from ©2000 Nathan Nettleton

One day, after Jesus had been taken into heaven, there was a gathering of about one hundred twenty of his followers. Peter stood up and addressed them, saying: 
“Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled. What the Holy Spirit said through David about Judas has now happened. He was one of us, taking his place alongside us in this ministry, but in the end he was the one who showed the lynch mob where to arrest Jesus. 
“So we need a replacement for Judas — someone to stand with us as a primary witness to the resurrection life of Jesus. It should be someone who was in our company for the whole time Jesus was among us, right through from the day he was baptised by John to the day when he was taken into heaven. 
There were two nominations: Joseph Barsabbas, nicknamed Justus, and Matthias. The group prayed saying, “Lord, you know us all, through and through. Make it clear to us which of these two you are choosing to take on the task of ministry and leadership that Judas turned his back on.” And then, trusting God, they tossed a coin. On the fall of the coin, Matthias was declared to be the twelfth apostle.

in the toss of a coin
it all changed.
Only you know 
how the story might have gone differenly...

Jo Dee Messina sings,

"Heads Carolina, tails California
Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer
Up in the mountains, down by the ocean
Where don't matter long as we're goin'
Somewhere together, I got a quarter
Heads Carolina, tails California"

I can't imagine how things might have gone
with just one decision made differently.

Just one example... Lord you remember...
The car was packed.
I was getting in
on my way to an interview
when I got the call.
A friend, a neighbor, 
a saint of a man in my congregation
was at the hospital.
He was very sick.
I debated briefly not going,
not going to the hospital that is,
so I called the committee chairman and 
told him I could not come
I needed to be pastor here at little bit longer.
Of course, he understood. 
Actually I think it made him wish I'd come all the more.
So instead of driving to an interview,
I drove to the hospital where over the next short hours
I sat with a beloved saint of God, my neighbor, my friend.
I held his hand as he died.
I was right where God needed me to be.

I never did go to that interview.
But I did not stay either.
Another call came.
God pointed me in a new direction.
And here I am.

it wasn't a coin toss... 
but it might have been.
Heads Carolina, tails California.
Where don't matter long as we're goin'
Somewhere together, Lord
I got a quarter
Heads Carolina, tails California

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