A Pastoral Letter for the Fourth of July 2021
To the saints in Iowa:
Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Fourth of July holiday marks the time when summer moves into high gear in the U.S. Families go on vacation, outdoor activities beckon, and we connect with neighbors and friends. As we give thanks for the freedom and privileges that many of us enjoy in America, we also acknowledge that millions of people in our country and around the world do not even have the basic necessities of life, let alone the opportunity for an education and a job.
After a very challenging year and a half of COVID-19, we have learned how to reinvent ourselves in ministry and are slowly returning to what will be a new normal in our world. In the midst of a summer where almost 50% of Iowans are now vaccinated and we are beginning to open up again, I’m reminded of John Wesley’s great instruction:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
On this Fourth of July weekend, I encourage all of us to take the time to see our communities with new eyes. How might you keep your eyes open to those in need, respond to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, and remember that we live together in this one world of ours? We have the opportunity to rethink who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ and recommit ourselves to watching over one another in love. Every year at this time, I remember as a child putting my hand over my heart and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school every morning, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
As disciples of Jesus Christ and as global citizens, we have been called to live out the words of the Old Testament prophet Micah (6:8), “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” May God’s never-ending love empower you to embody the grace of Jesus Christ and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit as you seek to serve and reach out to others with hope.