Summary: The highway we travel as Christians needs timely and appropriate maintenance.

Fill the Potholes

Pastor Roger Shervington

Community Presbyterian Church

El Monte, CA

2nd Sunday of Advent (C)

10 December 2006

This morning, we continue our Advent journey towards the joy and celebration of Christmas while not forgetting that we also celebrate the promise of our Lord’s return. Our Gospel lesson this morning is from the third chapter of the Gospel according to Luke, beginning at the first verse. I’ll be reading from the New Revised Standard Version. Let’s listen to God’s word to us.

Luke 3:1-6 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ’Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’"

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Now there’s something that gets me really stirred up: road construction. You see, highways are in my blood; I earn much of my living from highway or roadway construction. This 210 freeway north of here was one of my projects between La Verne and Fontana a few years ago. I come by it naturally. My dad was a highway engineer.

My dad started working with the then-California Division of Highways right after he completed his studies at Berkeley Polytechnic Institute in 1928. He started out as a junior draftsman in Eureka and, 33 years later, had worked his way upward to become the assistant District Engineer. In 1961, Dad was again promoted and transferred to Bishop where he finished his career as the District Engineer, finally retiring in 1971 after nearly 44 years with the Division.

My mom and dad married in 1947 and soon were expecting me. Dad figured he needed to go after promotions so that he could afford this new family of his so he sat for the state registration exam for civil engineering, the same exam that his son would sit for some 23 years later. Dad posted the highest score in the state for that exam; his son managed to pass.

Many of my earliest memories are of Dad taking me out into the field with him to look over highway construction or maintenance projects. I was inquisitive and pestered him with tons of questions which he patiently answered. He even took me to construction equipment shows around Eureka and passing by one of those sites a couple of weeks ago prompted a confession out of me that Sandy had never heard.

When I was about 10 years old, Dad and I went to an open house being held by one of the local contractors. There were lots of yellow tractors parked in their yard that had been cleaned up for the occasion. While Dad talked with some other men, I did what any reasonably normal 10-year old boy would do – I climbed up on a bulldozer and started pulling levers and stepping on pedals while going vrmmmm, vrmmmm. After a while I looked down and discovered that some fool had left the key in the dozer. Hmmm! OK, I did what any other reasonably normal 10-year old boy would do given the chance and turned the key. It started! VRMMMM! Cool! That’s when I discovered that you could start those old Cats in gear. The darned thing started moving out across the yard. Oi vey! I again did what any reasonably normal 10-year old boy would do in the circumstances – I bailed out! I jumped off that contraption, put my hands in my pockets, and casually walked away from the scene of the crime. What tractor? I dunno who started it! The dozer, with several men in pursuit, idled across the yard until it stalled out on a large pile of dirt. Dad didn’t notice the commotion, or if he did, didn’t say anything about it, but I’m sure he was aware what was going on. He just played it cool. Either that or he didn’t want to admit that his idiot son was the source of all that excitement. Sandy said, "I’ve known you for 44 years and that’s the first time I’ve heard that story." Oh, well...

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