Lift Up Your Heads

Thirty-nine years ago, on July 15, 1976, Ed Ray was driving a bus full of kids when he stopped to see if a broken-down van needed help. Unfortunately, the break-down was a set-up and what the driver found was a masked man with a gun. The man and an accomplice boarded the bus, sent Ed to the back, and took control. A third man followed the bus in the van. After a few minutes, the bus came to a stop and everyone on board was forced into two vans which drove for the next eleven hours. Finally they arrived in a rock quarry where the three kidnappers put Ed and the twenty-six children in a partly buried moving van trailer. The plan was to use the children as leverage to get a ransom of five million dollars. The kidnappers never got their money, however, because Ed and a couple of the students were able to escape through a hatch in the top of the trailer and dig themselves to freedom. After finding a night watchman at the quarry, the police were called and they were able to rescue the rest of the children from the buried trailer. Within weeks, the kidnappers turned themselves in and are currently in prison for their actions.

Stories like this remind me just how corrupt the world around us is. Jesus told his disciples, referring to the time of the end, that "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:12). This Friday night I will be starting the series of prophecy meetings in Parsons with a sermon about the signs of the end that we are seeing all around us. With the current news headlines it's easy to focus on the negative, but stories like this also remind me that we have a Savior. Just like Ed who was in the trailer with the children before helping them to safety, our Savior knows what it's like to be in the world and He will come back to take us home. While He was here on earth, He gave us a promise, saying that "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Jesus is coming soon! And more than anything else, that should make us rejoice!

Lifting up my head,

Pastor Sutherland

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