While watching an old television Western, Tales of Wells Fargo, I had two thoughts come to me. The first was when the bandits stopped the stage coach. Thanks to the pandemic, my thought was, how nice that they were wearing their masks. The second was regarding the man riding shotgun. He was seated on the right side of the driver.
Riding shotgun in the American West describes the bodyguard who rides alongside the driver, typically armed with a shotgun to ward off bandits. The phrase has been used metaphorically to mean giving actual or figurative support or aid to someone in a situation who needs help.
Wyatt and Morgan Earp rode shotgun for the Express Company when the stage carried precious cargo. When Wells Fargo began regular stagecoach service from Missouri to San Francisco in 1858, they issued 10 or 12 gauge, short, double-barreled shotguns to its guards for defense along the perilous 2800 mile route.
In the United States, the drivers side in on the left of the car, and the passenger seat is on the right. When you call out “shotgun” you are claiming the right front passenger seat. But certain rules exempt you claiming shotgun. Grandparents, mothers, and significant others automatically get the “shotgun” seat.
So who is our “significant other,” who really does give us actual and spiritual support when we need help and rides shotgun for us? Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father!
“Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who is interceding for us.” (Rom. 8:34 [ESV])
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Heb. 1:3 [ESV])
“Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” (Acts 2:33 [ESV])
The patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, used to pray this while walking.
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
He covered more than riding shotgun! And trust me when I tell you this, Jesus will do the same for you! He is the ultimate bodyguard, protecting you, because you are precious cargo.
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