The Hope Vaccine

GodReflection: A Secure Grip On Hope.

I believe in vaccine. I must admit, it is not that hard to believe since I am more than a seven-decade recipient. It goes back to Dr. Vacuña.

This year once again, I find myself blessed to be the recipient of knowledgeable scientist and lab technicians who have applied studies, invested long hours, and who persisted through experimental failures until the successful provision of a vaccine against Covid-19. I am thankful for all the volunteers who made it possible for me to receive both doses in the early days of distribution.

When the Puckett Brothers ranch project failed from the Penasco River’s decision to go underground and cut off the grasslands of Hope, New Mexico, the bankrupt doctor-brother moved sixty miles south to the town of Carlsbad in 1926 to work as a fulltime health official for Eddy County.

The Spanish-speaking residents lovingly referred to him as “Dr. Vacuña,” the Spanish word for “vaccination.” His work spared thousands from the dreaded diseases of smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, typhoid, lockjaw, and polio.

Dr. Owen E. Puckett retired in 1958 after administering over seventy thousand immunizations and twenty-three hundred diphtheria antitoxin shots during his more than three decades of service as health officer for southeastern New Mexico. As the health physician for the entirety of Eddy county, I suspect he revisited his former village of Hope to make sure those who remained would be fully vaccinated.

I too received each of the doctor’s vaccinations when he would visit my school to keep us all current. In addition, I was the recipient of many of his house calls when I had pneumonia and other childhood illnesses. I knew Dr. Puckett as more than a doctor, he was family, and a member of our church. I knew him as one who possessed a gift more valuable than medicine. It was obvious. He was a friend of Jesus.

Had Jesus walked the region of Southeastern New Mexico at the time of Dr. Puckett’s needle, surely Dr. Vacuña would have caught the teacher’s eye to be used as one of his kingdom stories.

Perhaps he would have called the people together and began with, the kingdom of heaven is like a doctor who has discover a vaccine that will give eternal life.

Sounds like good news to me. Isn’t that what Jesus taught when he invited his listeners to come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)?

When I read Jesus’ claim, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6:51), that rings out to me as a hope vaccine.

Was not Jesus’ message of eternal life validated by his grace and assured by vaccination through belief that hope of his promise “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)?

When I read For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40), it sounds like belief is the key to vaccination that provides eternal hope.

I like the summation of Paul as he writes to Christians in Rome. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). That is the hope vaccine where I want to place my trust.

Father God,

My prayer is that you the Father, you the Son, and you the Holy Spirit will use all who trust in the Holy to reflect the Hope Vaccine found in Jesus, and more readily make it available to those you bring onto our path.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Hope Vaccine.

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