Mobile Redemption Center

MobileRedemptionA few years ago I was driving home from a monthly meeting with clergy and ministers at our nearby local Inter-church Council. I was lost in thought until I found myself stuck behind a large, dirty panel truck that seemed to be traveling ten miles an hour. With no safe way to pass, I was stuck in slow-mo. I resigned myself to just roll with it hoping the truck would soon turn off onto another street. It didn’t. Having given up waiting for the truck’s turn signal to flash, I finally looked up and read the back of the truck. In big, bold black letters it read, “Mobile Redemption Center.” I thought, Mobile Redemption Center? And from there my mind took off with possibilities….

Redemption? As in forgiveness of sins and all that? Heck, this could be a church or place of worship on wheels. Isn’t that what churches are supposed to be about, to help their members get in right order with their God? Just think, most houses of worship are huge edifices of brick, mortar and frequently steeples, which are intentionally designed to get your attention, right? They build them, you come, or so the plan goes.

So I’m riding along (still) behind this dingy, dented and dirty old truck that says it’s a Mobile Redemption Center. Like life, like us, really….dented and a little grimy from the road of life.

Now supposing Jesus himself was driving that truck, just rolling along. No golden chariot. No bolts of lightning. No miracles. No fish… nothing. Just old faithful J.C in his grubby truck driving through neighborhoods picking up, reclaiming, repurposing this soul and that soul along the way?

At the next red light I rolled closer to the back of the truck and noticed diesel exhaust had left a gray sooty layer across the back bumper. Here it was, an urban blackboard where mischievous fingers had left their mark. “Ron loves Paula,” “Jimmy was here,” and “F___ You!” Then I spotted something interesting. Down in the lower left side someone had scribbled in “wash me.”

Wash me? We’ve all seen this a hundred times on trucks and cars. But on my Mobile Redemption Center truck? Well, the spiritual imagery here certainly was intriguing. After a few more minutes my little mental church on wheels turned into a shopping plaza presumably to pick up bottles and cans.

I told this little story at the next meeting of ministers and pastors. As I finished one of the group members started jotting down notes and then said, “Kevin, that’ll preach!” May I use it?”

Though I don’t preach, I know how challenging it is for clergy members to find fresh sermon topics week after week. “Of course,” I said, “Besides, I’m sure the truck driver, whoever it is, won’t mind.”

Text by Kevin Lee

Graphic artwork created exclusively for Rise This Day
by Ma. Shayne Krizel Zalameda



Author: Kevin Lee

In a nutshell, Kevin fesses up to the following: He's a retired youth advocate-counselor, a blogger, writer, photographer, rower, Friends Minister, grandpa of six and married to a terrific woman for 43 years and counting!

7 thoughts on “Mobile Redemption Center”

  1. am new to this site
    >> what a message “Wash Me”…creative brain views with such gratitude.
    i AM that little girl by the tree, now grown.
    given the gift of an honorable & Godly husband, 2 sons, & the blessings of 12 grands.
    Life is so delicious..and so GOOD with God..
    you are a gifted young man.
    best Blessings of Jesus

    1. Hello Wendi, thank you for visiting my site, and especially for your comments, too. Indeed, my life has been blessed in so many ways, including an awareness of the Spirit of Christ at work in my own life as well. And, my wife and I are further blessed with three grown daughters, all married, and at last count, we have six wonderful grandchildren too! And you have 12? Wow! Stunning.

      Again, thank you, blessings to you and your family.

  2. I was once traveling on an interstate, my usual route to work, and it had a long hill. I found myself stuck behind a tractor trailer truck with a sign on the back that said “Destination Unknown…but Making Good Time!” As I was in the slow lane and many other vehicles were whizzing around us, there was no choice but to slow down and think about that sign. Like you, I followed the truck until it found it’s exit, and then proceeded to continue my journey a bit faster, but with better thoughts. How often we are speeding along without thinking (really) about where we are going or why we are going there in the first place. By that time in my life, I had reached what I thought was my calling in life, a chaplain who was director of a Family Life Center. But I could see many times in the past when I was going too fast to notice what was really important. Now retired, I take care of 2 grand kids and enjoy the chance to slow down and be with them in the early stages of their journey. Thanks for your writing.

    1. Hello Chris, Thanks very much for your wonderful story in return. I love that line, “Destination Unknown…But Making Good Time!” I did two units of CPE at a children’s hospital years ago as part of my M.Div degree. I liked it a lot in fact. I also did volunteer chaplaincy ministry at our local hospital several years back with a team from our Inter-Church Council. But I learned that my life-rhythm would likely not be a good long-term match for the high intensity work that hospitals deal with every day. I knew, perhaps like you, that I could do it, like it and thrive on it for a period of time, but sooner or later they’d find me in a heap somewhere totally consumed and exhausted. So social work was a better every-day-job for me.

      Again, thanks very much for your comment and sharing your story. In Spirit, In Peace to you!

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