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July 2021 Pastor's Pen

My son Alan enjoys watching stories about the Texas Rangers. He does enjoy the TV shows, but he also enjoys watching and reading about the original Texas Rangers and how they started. Anything about history and you will get Alan’s attention. Joyce says she has learned more about history living with Alan than she ever learned all through school. So in honor of my son here is a true story about a Texas Ranger I hope all of you will enjoy.

In the early 1930s a major riot broke out in an oil town in West Texas. The drunken oil field workers were tearing up the place and the Sheriff and Mayor wired to the Governor in Austin for help. The reply came back that help would arrive by special train early the next morning. In the small hours of darkness, with a riot still raging, the Mayor and the Sheriff met the special train. It had one passenger car on it and one passenger in it. At six foot nine inches tall with crisscrossed bandoleers, two .45 caliber revolvers on his hips and a regulation Stetson on his head, down stepped Manual T. Gonzaullas. The sheriff, after making sure that the Second Armored Division was not cowering under the seats in the train, shouted, ”You mean they only sent one man?” Gonzaullas, in the manner of all Texas Rangers, took his thumb and placed it on his nose, pushed up the brim of his regulation issue Stetson, looked down from that terrific height and replied, “There’s only one riot, ain’t there?” The story goes on from there. Gonzuallas then proceeded to put down the riot. To this day, carved over the entrance to the headquarters of the Texas Rangers in Austin, Texas, are the words, One riot, one man! In these later days we have forgotten the power that one solitary man can have for good. Such power is not from any native bravado, but from the still water that runs deep. Courage is neither the denial of fear nor the absence of fear-----It is the conquest of fear.

The ultimate example of this is our Lord, Jesus Christ. It has always comforted me that he was afraid, desperately so, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not take counsel in his fears; but of his Father in Heaven. By remaining in God's will, courage was supplied to him to face the test of Calvary. Facing it he triumphed. But note the key fact: he remained in his Father's will. Still water runs deep; but it cannot run unless connected to the source of the fountain. So it is that we are commanded to examine ourselves before Communion. In that examination, we come closer to our Father, and in that closeness the living water He supplies runs deep indeed. Gonzuallas was in fact, such a man. In an interview near the end of his life, he was asked which of his accomplishments gave him the most satisfaction. He did not even mention the riot. He replied that his greatest satisfaction came after he retired from the Texas Rangers. He and a group of his fellow Presbyterians, banded together to raise funds for and construct the first hospital in his home town.


All things through Christ,

Rev. Walter Coy


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