Since at least 1998, an email has been making the internet rounds. It claims to be from a manual given to Peace Corps volunteers, and it’s entitled, “What to Do If Attacked By an Anaconda.”
1. If you are attacked by an anaconda do not run. The snake is faster than you are.
2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.
3. Tuck your chin in.
4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.
5. Do not panic.
6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet and always from the end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.
7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.
8. When the snake has reached your knees slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake's mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg, then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake's head.
9. Be sure you have your knife.
10. Be sure your knife is sharp.
anaconda, do not run; the snakeI know this will disappoint some of you, but that list is a myth. Snake experts will tell you that an anaconda doesn’t swallow anything alive; it squeezes them to death, then swallows. Sad to say, if you get attacked by an anaconda, I have no advice for you at all. But think about how the instructions end: “Be sure you have your knife. Be sure your knife is sharp.” I don’t know how to prepare you for an anaconda attack. But today, I do have a much more important--and helpful--warning. We’re in a series now on what it means to be the church. We’re looking at seven letters Jesus wrote to seven churches in the first century…letters that I believe were intended for all churches in all times, including ours. And we’re asking the question, “Based on what Jesus said to that church, what would He say to us today?” This Sunday, we'll take a look at Rev. 2:12-17, in which Jesus tells us what we REALLY need to watch out for. Want to make sure your knife is sharp? I'll see you Sunday.