A WORD FROM THE PASTOR:

As you receive this edition of “The Royal Messenger” we are approaching our annual celebration of “Independence Day.”  For many, this will be a holiday, a day off work, with family gatherings and parties; lots of food and drink, and millions (if not billions) of dollars thrown to the wind in the form of fireworks.  Now, it is not that I have anything against celebrating the founding or our great nation, but I do wonder how many people, in the midst of their celebrating, actually understand what it is that they are celebrating.

As I was wondering what to set before you, this month, as a challenge for your consideration, it came to me that this would be a good time for all of us to reflect on the state of our nation in light of our current political atmosphere (and I am not refereeing to D.C. alone) but to that of our whole Nation.  I have lived a lot of years on this earth, and as a citizen of these United States of America – and am a proud American. But today, as we approach July 4th, I have great concern for our Nation and its future.  In my life time, there has always been differences of opinions and beliefs among the citizens of this great nation (which has been one of our strengths). We have not always been one in thought but have always been one in allegiance; respecting one another and working to find ways, in spite of our differences, to live and work together for the benefit of our nation and all of its people – though we differed on many things, in the end we celebrated our “oneness.” But all of this seems to be changing.  What I am seeing, sadly, is that our differences in beliefs and opinions, no longer inspire us, but now they are dividing us into camps that degrade and seemingly hate one another. At one time we were challenged by our differences to find creative, insightful, solutions for problems to benefit our nation as a whole;- but now our differences are crippling and paralyzing our nation and, in my opinion threatening our future. SO I HAVE DECIDED TO CHALLENGE EACH OF YOU TO TAKE SOME TIME, ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, TO REFLECT ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  In an effort to help you get started, I want to share with you several quotes from persons you may or may not know, but that I hope will serve to inspire your thoughts:

  • George Washington:  “Do not let anyone claim tribute to American patriotism if they even attempt to remove religion from politics.”
  • John Adams:  “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
  • John Quincy Adams:  “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religious people…”
  • General Omar Bradley (2):  “America today is running on the momentum of a godly ancestry, and when that momentum runs down, God help America.”

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on The Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience.  Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

  • French historian/writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting our nation in 1831:

“I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests; and it was not there.  I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning; and it was not there.  I looked for it in her democratic congress and her matchless constitution; and it was not there.  Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”

  • Pope John Paul II:  “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

As I have already said, I am worried about the direction that our nation seems to be taking, and what this means for our future.  I hope that all of you will take time on “Independence Day” to reflect on where we are and where we are headed, and that you will join with me in praying: “O God, do it again!  Send your spirit among us again.  Wake up our churches and renew our nation!  Amen.”

Grace and Peace,

Gary