A Nation Blessed

I spent July 4th – at least part of it – like many of us do.  Listening to some good music, watching (or at least hearing) some fireworks, eating a really good hamburger.

I also spent part of the day reflecting on what we had talked about at church the previous Sunday.  How we are a blessed people – yes – and how with great blessing (and resources) comes great responsibility.

It is so easy, these days, to want to run from the myriad of problems we see confronting us as a people – as citizens – and, for some, as a people of faith.  The Church (note the capital C – I am talking about the church-at-large here and not just my own congregation) often struggles, pretty ineffectively, to provide solutions.  At least, that’s what many Millenials, who are leaving the Church in droves, will tell you.

It can get pretty discouraging.

I suggest that all is not lost – not by a long shot.  Why?

Because finding the solutions to these issues doesn’t depend on our relying on our wisdom, our skills, our dedication, or – ultimately – even on our faith (or lack of it.)

As one of our old, beloved patriarchs at Elpis often says, and as some of our youngest children often repeat, “God is God!”

I translate that to  mean that if we will prayerfully turn to the living God who started all this in the first place – in time – we will begin to see answers to problems, solutions where before we only saw doom and gloom, and we will, slowly, begin to feel empowered to act as the people of God to make real differences in our world, and in the kingdom of God.

God Bless America.  But not only America.  God Bless Us All – Please!  Let that be our prayer.  Blessed not to be “better than others” but blessed to be “up to the task” -of being that light to the world, that salt of the earth, that hope, that word of grace, that compassionate act – that will make all the difference.

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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