It is true that history often repeats itself unless people do something to keep that from happening. It seems we are at the threshold of another historical repeat with a resurgence of the “alt-right”, including white supremacists, Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, and other hate groups who feel a new empowerment in our country.
I had hoped this was all finished. The Civil War brought about the end of one person owning another here. The World Wars were fought and the evil of the idea of the supremacy of one race over another was fully exposed. I thought we had learned our lesson. We haven’t.
We learned that this evil still exists among us. We have evidence of those who hate among us. We see them in pictures and video waving Nazi flags and other symbols of hatred side by side, chanting “One blood, one soil!”. They even throw the Hitler salute for good measure. On American soil.
As I said in my sermon two Sundays ago, I respect their right to do these things. I am appalled that in 2017 people still want to, and that many who hold these beliefs consider themselves followers of Jesus. They aren’t.
Jesus would have nothing to do with this. It is the antithesis of his message to the world. He said to love God. Love your neighbor (not just the ones who look, talk, and act like you), just as you love yourself.
History will repeat itself unless something is done to prevent it. It is up to us to overcome hate and ignorance by proclaiming that God’s reign is not for a select few, but extends to ALL of God’s children. It is then that we fulfill our calling to be followers of Jesus.
Earlier this week our old marquee sign was removed. All that remained were the two poles that it had been mounted on years ago. Just sticking up there…a testament of the kind of service two steel poles could provide.
Our old sign had fallen apart. You could move the frame from side to side. The lighting inside had gone dark. And the plexiglass windows that had announced numerous events over all of these years had grown cloudy. After each wind storm, letters had to be glued back on.
I will have many memories of that old sign. People honking their horns as they drove by while it was being changed. Changing the letters in the cold, hot, rain, and snow. Being hit on the head after the plexiglass window blew upwards in high winds, causing the pvc pole that held it up to fall away and the window to come crashing down. In the summer, a sign change at night required a breathing apparatus because of all of the bugs. And I won’t forget bees and wasps.
On the day Valerie Marshall left to begin chemotherapy in St.Louis, It said, Go “Valerie, Go!” As she and Tom drove past just as the sun was coming up. Sadly, we never got the chance to put “Welcome Home” on it for her.
The sign welcomed people to our services. It announced many events. It served us well.
This morning, our old sign was replaced. It has undergone structural modifications to give it strength….The old marquee sign has been replaced by LED panels that can be changed without leaving the building. We will be able to announce something without abbreviations because we can make all of the letters fit. We can change fonts and font sizes at will. We can add pictures and video. We can do a lot with it!
While I have made memories changing that sign, I have to admit that I am looking forward to the new possibilities we have with this upgrade. While we have been talking about it for years, it is now a reality. The reason it is possible is we received a significant gift from one of our families at the end of last year. It was to be used for whatever project(s) it was needed for. The new sign has been completely paid for. Many thanks to our special anonymous donors who made this possible!
As our future unfolds, our new means of communicating with our community will help to proclaim to those who pass by that WE ARE HERE! May the information we share out there reflect God’s love for all, and may others know of our love by the messages they receive as the pass by!
I am thankful for the memories I have with our old sign, but I can’t say I will miss it!