Yesterday was our very first water baptism celebration for our church. Because we are near the beach we picked a local park, set up tables, fired up the grill, and dunked eight volunteers into the ocean. Besides it being our church’s first baptism celebration, my son and daughter were two of the eight to be baptized. I was a proud papa!
And with our church with anything we do, there has to be adventure. I believe it follows my pastor around wherever he goes. Anyways, let me paint a picture. Envision two unsuspecting staffers from the church corralling their way with a chockfull Radio Flyer wagon brimming with picnic accessories and supplies. As they approach the targeted campsite a bold progeny of furry masked bandits attempted to tag their territory to prevent the advances of the human race upon their promised land of trash and waste. However, they relented knowing tis better to recognize humans as food suppliers, not food deniers. Obviously millions of years of rooting around trash cans and tiptoeing through garbage, facetiously speaking, raccoons have mastered coexistence with the human race. But one problem, they aren’t scared of us.
Remember the two staffers. Little did they know what lurked above them. They gazed upon a family of five future coonskin caps walking in their midsts, but what they did not know was that the raccoons strategically assigned one of their fellows to the tree tops to give them an eagle eye view of the buffet spread below. Guess who was volunteered to free us of the litter leeches? Me! I made clicking noises, grunting noises, hand gestures, stomping, jumping, spinning, yada, yada, yada, at the tree hugging vermin, only to become nervous that I was going to end up in the hospital with nurses trying to detach the fur ball from my face.
As we entered into a stare down, my stone-cold, icy baby blues peering into the black, beady little eyes that I believe could read my thoughts, I was immediately reminded of a scene from Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Dolittle”. A cocky raccoon with a deep NY accent proceeded to intimidate Dolittle by threatening him that a hit could easily be put out for him.
When all was said and done the raccoon finally came down, walked away, but not before he turned, stared me down as if to say in his best Marlon Brando, “Godfather” impersonation, “I never forget a face.” I do believe I am a marked man by all raccoons everywhere.
All that is funny and all, but there is a point to this story. These raccoons ran around us, encroached upon us, and tested every boundary they could until one of us would shoo them back into the brush. They were adamant about getting to those trash cans surrounded by all of the human invaders. They did not relent. I learned alot about persistence and self-control, or the lack there of.
What kind of raccoon are you? Are you a raccoon persistent after God, so persistent that nothing will get in your way of you getting in His presence? Or are you a raccoon that is bound by temptation and you have no self-control to steer clear of it? These raccoons showed me how even when God is trying to divert my attention from sin, giving me a way out essentially, I still am enticed by temptation because I desire to satisfy my flesh rather than my spirit. They also symbolized the relationship I am desiring to have with my heavenly Father. The kind of relationship where I am so absorbed with God that I will let nothing stand between me and His majesty, just as the raccoons could not think of anything other than getting their paws on the treasures in the trash cans.
What do you think happened when we all left and darkness descended upon the camp ground? Yep, the raccoons found their loot and were satisfied.