A Message from Pastor Harvey
By the time you receive this newsletter, July 4th will be upon us, indeed it may have passed. But the underlying sentiment, our love for this nation, continues. We call it our independence day, but I suspect that these days, our independence from England is not the primary sentiment. I think (and hope) that on July 4th and throughout the year that what we really celebrate is our love of country. (At least that is what I celebrate. Personally, I bear no ill will against England after so long a period.)
I love this nation and the ideals for which it stands and for which we, as a people, strive: like equality, respect, hard-work, generosity, kindness, charity, sacrifice for the common welfare, peace and justice, to name a few ideals. I recognize that we are not a perfect nation or people. We have made serious mistakes. Allowing the sin of slavery was one, for example. But I keep hoping that this nation I love will always strive to be better; that we as a people will always attempt to create a more perfect union.
I’ve directly served this nation for 20 years in uniform and another 11 in the Department of Veterans Affairs. I believe I continue to serve this nation, indirectly as a pastor. I think all of you, in your own ways, serve this nation in the vocations and jobs you have taken. All citizens serve the nation through their work (unless they are a tax cheat or criminal). Each of your jobs and acts of volunteering help to build up and strengthen our communities and the nation.
Let us admit we love the United States of America and we that strive to make it a better place for all people. We might have different thoughts on how to get there, but the goal is the same. Let’s also admit that as Christians, we are called to love God more than country. And I believe that loving God more, loving God first, actually makes us better citizens and better able to move our beloved nation toward a more perfect union.
In a more perfect union, there would be a desire to improve the common welfare. In a more perfect union, all residents of the nation would be united in seeking an end to divisions and would strive to raise up the poor. In a more perfect union, justice would mean restorative justice and setting things right instead of merely punishment. In a more perfect union, people who are different would indeed be treated fairly; as we would want to be treated were we in their place.
On July 4th, 1776, this nation celebrated its independence from England. As Christians, we acknowledge and celebrate every day, our dependence on God, who sustains us, and all creation.
Your Servant in Christ,