Pastor Joseph Huston
Sunday Morning Worship 9:15 am
Children’s Sunday School 9:30 am
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (June-August)
Parsonage Phone (517) 646-6530
Happy Birthday USA!!!
The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is almost here. Plans are being made for picnics and outings, get togethers with family and friends and, of course parades and fireworks!!! The holiday also offers a time for reflection on how we are doing as a nation.
Our Declaration of Independence begins with these visionary words:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
For our entire history the nation has been swept with great debates including national defense, foreign policy, national security, health care, marriage equality, freedom of speech, income inequality, the national debt, the size of government…the list goes on and on and so does the debate. This year, the debate, in too many instances has given way to shouting and division. Many share a deep sense of alarm. How we live out our highest aspirations is being put to the test.
We may get tired of the constant barrage of news and tweets. However, our engagement with the issues is crucially important. This is how we “form a more perfect union.” Historically this is the mandate we as citizens have given ourselves from the very beginning of our nation.
On national holidays a favorite song is America the Beautiful. The last verse as printed in the current United Methodist Hymnal is especially important.
“O beautiful for patriot dreams that see beyond the years thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears.”
This is a magnificent vision which reflects the hope in the Book of Revelation:
3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21: 3 & 4, CEB)
We know that this hope has not been fulfilled. The New Heaven and New Earth of Revelation have not yet appeared. Many of our cities have spots of great beauty, but “gleaming alabaster” is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Lansing, Detroit, or many of our great cities. There is still much to do in our work of forming a more perfect union.
As United Methodist Christians, we say our purpose is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Surely the continuing transformation of our nation is a part of our calling.
America the Beautiful ends with a prayer:
God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control,
thy liberty in law.”
May you and I do our part to fulfill this great hope. Happy Birthday USA!!!
I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday!