The instructor said, “If it happens once, it can happen again.” I was in a traffic safety course as part of my chaplaincy training for the local police and fire departments. In the video there was a one-car accident. The vehicle was sitting in the median between two busy roads. There were several emergency vehicles present. You could also see a number of folks at the scene. 

It was raining. The road was wet. Lights were flashing and visibility was limited. Suddenly a pickup truck slammed into the disabled vehicles sending the crew running. Everyone gasped. I hadn’t really understood what the instructor was saying until a few minutes later a second vehicle hit the parked cars and flipped over injuring at least one worker.

The point he was making was that you have to be alert and ready for anything when responding to an emergency call. He told us that there are no routine incidents. Then we watched a horrifying video that showed a simple fender bender that turned deadly. A speeding tractor trailer tried to stop, jackknifed, and flipped on its side and ended up killing 10 first responders.

If there is one thing I have learned over the last year and a half, it’s that these men and women who serve as police, fire and EMTs go through a lot of training. They don’t just sign up and walk out and do what they do. They spend hours going over various scenarios. They take the time to learn how to use the equipment that is vital to their job.

You wouldn’t expect anything less. They have an important job to do. They are called first responders because they are often the first on the scene when help is needed. They selflessly give their time and energy to do a job that most of us could never do. I thank God for them.

There are very few vocations where ongoing training isn’t needed. That’s true for our faith life as well. Too many of us consider our education complete once we graduate from Sunday School or complete our catechism. Yet in order to grow in our faith we need to continue reading the Bible, attending Bible studies and participating in worship. 

Life is unpredictable. You never know when your faith will be tested. The Bible is our training manual. In Matthew 7:24 Jesus says,  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”

In a world where hope is hard to find, we have the answer. Our hope is found in God. So let’s commit to dive into our Bibles as if it was our training manual. Then let’s get out and share the Good News to a world that is in desperate need. 

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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