Pastor’s Paragraph for July 5, 2020

Pastor's Paragraph for July 5, 2020

JULY 5, 2020

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July has me thinking about the Founding Fathers (and Founding Mothers, who get lesser billing). We typically divorce their actions of 1776 from what came before, not considering the back-and-forth tension between the American Colonies and the British government that preceded the Declaration of Independence. Historians have variously attributed this tension to a growing British anti-slavery sentiment, or to the attempt to exact from the colonists the costs for the French and Indian War, or to the resentment the colonists felt about not having representation in Parliament.  

As a person who is somewhat risk averse, I am astounded by those who signed the Declaration. From a historical perspective, they seemed to have far more to lose than to win by their action. However, they apparently compared a projected future of keeping the status quo with Britain against a projected future of an independent America and found the latter vision much more hopeful than the former. The hope which that vision engendered led them to do what by historical measure seems unwise.

The English poet Samuel Johnson wrote, “Whatever enlarges hope will also exalt courage.” He also wrote, “Where there is no hope, there can be no endeavor.” It is hope that empowers us to get out of bed each morning and greet the new day even though its outcome is anything but certain. 

Hope is a theological word. “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three.” The greatest may be love, but it is hope that comes between faith and love and translates the former into the latter. It is hope that moves epidemiologists to work on a coronavirus vaccine. Hope moves people into the streets to protest for justice and greater equality. Hope is what Christians have to offer the world in such times as these, not as some Pollyanna “don’t worry, be happy,” but with the conviction that, despite evidence to the contrary, God is with us.

It is with a sense of hope and excitement that we welcome Rev. Dr. Kathleen Kind this week as she assumes her appointment as a pastor here at Camp Hill UMC. We are grateful for her gifts for ministry and the pastoral experience she brings to us. Join me in lifting Pastor Kathy in prayer with hope and thanksgiving for God’s presence with us all and always.

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Rev. Dr. Brand Eaton
Pastor of Visitation