‘Stop the presses’
“Stop the presses!” I’ll bet that phrase used to trigger an adrenalin rush in typesetters, back in the days when newspaper type was handset. It is a phrase used in the news media industry as an exclamation indicating the arrival of extremely significant news or an extremely grave error. The term signified the discovery of the need to change the content of an issue just before or during its printing. Since this meant that the printing press literally had to be stopped or delayed, many of the existing copies of a publication, which had already been printed, would have to be discarded at great cost. Today, print type is no longer set by hand, but stopping the presses is still a costly adrenalin rush, revising computer layouts, burning new ink plates, and resetting the presses. Mostly, today, the phrase is used in a sarcastic way when a discovery prompts the need to immediately stop work on a project in any given industry.
I had my week planned, which included preparing a lesson to preach from the pulpit on Sunday morning in the absence of our resident preacher. Tuesday afternoon I was finishing a repair project in the church building when I was notified a member of the congregation had passed away, a friend and mentor of mine. “Stop the presses!” No one else was available to preach his funeral and I felt honored to be able to do it, so I volunteered. I was told I did well, but believe me, preachers and ministers don’t receive enough praise for the work they do. The demand on their time, at times, is very stressful and I, for one, am happy I don’t have to do it every week. I’m not as young as I used to be.
A preacher spoke a little longer than usual one Sunday morning. A little old lady approached him after worship and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a wonderful speaker?” (He immediately thought to himself, “Now isn’t that great? It’s always encouraging when the members recognize my abilities.”) He told her, “No, as a matter of fact no one has ever told me that I’m a wonderful speaker.” She quickly responded with, “Well then, whatever gave you the idea that you are?”
The preacher was opening his mail one morning. Taking a single sheet of paper from an envelope, he found only one word written on it, “FOOL.” The following Sunday he announced to the assembled congregation, “I have known many people who have written letters to me and forgotten to sign their names. But this week, I received a letter from someone who signed their name and had forgotten to write the letter.”
[Isaiah 6: 8] Isaiah has learned of the judgment the Lord is going to bring upon Israel and in a vision, where he finds himself in the presence of the Lord, and like the lost son (Luke 15:17-20), Isaiah comes to his senses and confesses to the Lord he is one of the people God is distressed with. Because of his confession, God takes away his guilt and gives atonement for his sins. The Lord needs someone to go to His people preparing them for His coming wrath. “... Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah has a decision to make about his new relationship with God. God has forgiven him of his sins, separating him from those he once associated with. He said, “Here am I. Send me!” When life screams out, “Stop the presses!” the dedicated minister will always answer the call. We all need to confess our sins to the Lord, come into His presence, and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. When we do this, we establish a new relationship with God, and when the need arises, we’ll ever say, “Here am I. Send me!”
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at email@example.com. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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