From the Pastor’s Desk, 7/4/22

 I’m writing this column on Independence Day. I know, I’m supposed to have the day off, but since I have no specific plans for the day, I decided to get some work done. Plus, celebrating this year has less appeal than in previous years. Sure, I’m fully aware that this day is set aside as a national holiday to celebrate this country’s independence. It seems, though, that celebrating has moved in a direction more toward prideful exceptionalism. The waving of flags, the playing of patriotic songs, the chanting of U-S-A, and the fetish over fireworks seems to have sights set on this nation being better than any other.

  My intent with these comments is not to stir up anger and argument or diminish anyone’s love of country. Rather, I hope I can offer an opportunity to seriously reflect on what it means to celebrate this special day.

   In my view, celebration is not a prideful act but instead a humble one. In humility, we remember the efforts put forth to give birth to a new nation. In humility, we consider the opportunities before us to help make this nation one where people can secure independence from oppression, live in absence of fear of being rejected, and enjoy being able to express our views and thoughts without concern of facing or passing judgment. Humble celebration is more of a somber act, not throwing fists in the air but standing quietly in awe at the impact independence has placed and continues to place on us.

   This evening, sans any weather conditions to the contrary, I’ll take in the fireworks display presented by the City of Canton. By taking part as a viewer, I’m engaging in this year’s 4th of July celebration. I do so in the spirit of the preceding paragraph. I’m grateful that I live in a country that provides opportunities to move freely, to share opinions, to have choice in religious expression, and to accept responsibility for respecting and caring for others. I’ll remember as I watch the exploding sparkles that the light of this country is not to outshine any other, but to join with others to make this world a place where all can live in harmony and be assured of justice for all.      

Recap: Worship, July 3, 2022                                       

   Good news is appreciated especially at times when life is offering to us pain, displeasure, deep concern, etc., etc. While we yearn for change, for healing, we can be reluctant to accept it since it comes from unexpected persons. Perhaps the one sharing good news has not achieved status or age as we might expect a good news bearer to have. Yet, the news we need is right in front of us.

   Additionally, we have good news to share with others but because of our place in the realm of society, the other may be unable to hear what we have to say. Regardless, share the good news anyway. Jesus invites us to do so not matter what.

   Receive good news from unexpected bearers. Share good news with reluctant receivers.

   Videos used in the service can be accessed with the following links:

Good news stories – (20) Good news stories of 2020 – YouTube

Rescuer by Rend Collection – (20) Rend Collective – Rescuer (Good News) [Official Music Video] – YouTube

Dropping science with a parallel on society – (20) Kevin James dropping science with a parallel on society – YouTube

   Facebook page video of the service – Canton Church of the Brethren – Illinois | Facebook

*Sunday, July 10 – As this is Annual Conference Sunday and arrangements are not in place to provide for the technical aspects of a worship service, the decision was made to suspend services this Sunday. However, a link is provided here (https://www.brethren.org/ac2022/webcasts/)https://www.brethren.org/ac2022/webcasts/  to tune in to the Annual Conference worship service being held Sunday evening. In addition, the link is a connection to all other worship services. The schedule of services is found on the page that this link opens. Once the page is open, click on the large green tab labeled WATCH WORSHP to view the worship services in real-time. The services are recorded and can be watched at a later time as well.  

**Sunday, July 17 —  We will gather for outdoor worship at the Bob Champlin farm (see address above) for worship at 9:30am followed by a potluck brunch. Hamburgers and hotdogs are being provided and cooked on the grill. If you prefer another favorite grill item, bring it along and room will be made on the grill for it. Also, bring a side dish or dessert to share, as well as table service, something to drink, lawn chairs, and a favorite yard game. 

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