Thursday, August 14, 2003

SPF Infinity

Remember summer vacation? Three glorious months away from scholastic torture and taskmasters with hideous names like Mrs. Tranham, Mr. Davis, and Ms. Huey. When we finally graduated from high school, knowing everything there was to know about the universe at large, we entered the grown up world of corporate America where summer and winter melted into one unending year of work. But still we got a vacation. Not quite three months long, but a vacation nonetheless. We just called it "the weekend."

Then many of us joined the US Army, intent upon defending our borders against the angry red menace, and here we are handsomely rewarded with 30 days of annual vacation. We just called it "leave." But, whether it's grade school vacation, weekends away from a McJob or leave twice a year, all have one thing in common - - - the bane of world class relaxers everywhere...sunburn.

People get sunburned because they don't wear sunscreen, don't wear clothing, don't stay indoors, or a combination of all three. The funny thing about sunburn is that it is totally preventable. We can avoid the pain of having our skin crisped by our solar neighbor simply by protecting ourselves. But often we do nothing because we are too stubborn, too vain, or totally unaware of the adverse effects of over exposure to sunlight.

As a chaplain in the US Army, I daily encounter the effects of over exposure in the lives of soldiers and their families. Like hardcore vacationers relaxing in the sun, many people tend to think that they are immune to the effects of sin. Most don't even like using the word sin, often because they are too stubborn, too vain, or too unaware of it's effect in their lives. The funny thing is...those effects are avoidable. Like keeping a supply of sunscreen readily available on the beach, we can be prepared to counter the effects of sin through the practice of our faith. By attending worship, reading scripture, meditation, and prayer we can protect ourselves. In the book of Psalms, David, King of Israel wrote, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

I want to encourage you to take some time today to protect yourself because you never know what might happen tomorrow...and you don't want to get burned!