Even the Lone Ranger Had Tonto…

…and even Superman comes to realize he can fight evil much better teaming up with other superheroes.  But now, he’s up against an enemy he secretly fears:  the Darkness, with an army of powerful victims he controls with his mark in their foreheads. In one episode Clark finally reveals his hidden fear to Lois Lane.

Clark: “How can I protect you, Lois, if I can’t even protect myself?

Lois:  “You’ve been afraid to admit you’re not invincible, Clark. Maybe that deep secret has been worse than your fear of the Darkness. But we’re in this together now.”

Clark: “You’re right, We have each other. We’ll find a way to defeat this enemy together”

That was fantasy, but this is a true story. The young pastor of a country church answers the door, finding two young men in suits standing on his porch looking uncomfortable.

Pastor: Mormons, he thinks.. “Can I help you?”

First Man: “We hope so.  You see, we’re with the Peace Corps.”.

Second Man:  “As part of our training we’ve been dropped off in your town in hopes of finding someone that would put us up for the week end.”

First Man: “A fellow at the gas station told us he thought you might. We are depending on your kindness and hospitality, but we have no way to pay you. All they allow us is the clothes on our back.”

Pastor: “Stay right here. Let me talk to my wife.”  He returns with her smiling. “Yes, please come in.”

Now you might think, What a hair-brained scheme. Where did they ever come up with that?

I’ll tell you where:

…the Lord commissioned…disciples and sent them off in twos as advance-parties into towns he intended to visit…”Don’t carry a purse or a bag or shoes, and don’t stop to pass the time of day with anyone you meet… When you go to a house say ‘Peace be to this household!’ If there is a lover of peace there, he will accept your words of blessing…Stay in the same house and eat and drink whatever they put before you…But don’t move from one house to another.” (Luke 10 1-7,  JB Phillips)

Do you think one of those trainees, sent off by himself, would have had the courage and fortitude to do what they did together?  God’s Word often tells us of the power of a team, even a team of two. Two are better than one…For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up, and a cord of three strands cannot be broken. (Eccles. 4: 9-10, KJV)

Paul never traveled alone, unlike Peter. (Read Acts 9: 32-43) The list of those who accompanied him on his journeys is too long to mention. Perhaps it’s one reason we know so much of his amazing missionary adventures and little of Peter’s.

OK, as Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story.” It turns out one of the Peace Corps trainees was a Jew, call him Ben. Late into the night he and the pastor talked. Ben explained he had been very devout, a rabbinical student. He quit and joined the Peace Corps because he had lost his faith in God.

Pastor: “Why did you lose your faith in God?”

Ben: “It’s the injustice, the wars and terrible suffering. God is so far away from it all. I can’t believe anymore in a God who would allow all this pain and do nothing.”

Pastor: “I can’t either, but what if God did do something?. What if he actually came down and shared all our pain and suffering? Could you believe in that God?”

Ben: “Of course, but that never happened.”

Pastor: “Well, have you heard of Christmas?”

Ben: Smiling, “Of course.”

Pastor: “It’s a very big deal right?”

Ben, Still smiling. “Bigger than Chanukah, I would say.”

Pastor: “That’s because it celebrates something our God did. He came and lived among us, shared our suffering and then died a terrible death. He was God’s Paschal Lamb who paid the price of our sins. It’s all there in our Hebrew Bible, book of Isaiah.”

Together they read that prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 53. After further sharing, God’s Spirit came upon Ben with great conviction. With tears, he joined the pastor.

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