Pastor Dave has office hours on Wednesday mornings, and is available Fridays by appointment. He preaches and presides one Sunday each month.
"In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls..."
― Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. For one, I consider myself a patriot, and I dearly love this country that we live in. Second, I have very fond memories of this summer holiday from my youth. It was a time for family, a time to BBQ, and a time for sparklers and hunting for lightning bugs (fireflies) in my grandmother’s backyard. It was a holiday that was outside of the church calendar, and one that allowed my family to take a day to pause from our work in Christ’s ministry and be present with one another. It was truly a time that was dedicated to Sabbath. So, I hope that this message perhaps finds you getting ready for some kind of Sabbath this summer. Whether it be around the 4th of July celebration, or another time over the next two months, I wish you a time of pause and renewal.
Historically this week has much significance for our nation. Of course, it is the birth of our independence, and a day that is often associated with colonial times. But this week also has other significance. My mind always turns this week not only to July 4th, but also to July 1st, July 2nd, and July 3rd. These were the three days on which the battle of Gettysburg raged not too very far from this very place in the summer of 1863. And right in the middle of that battle was a place that still stands today. The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. (Now United Theological Seminary) During those 3 days the campus of the seminary was first a lookout point for the Union Army, then in the middle of horrific fighting on July 1st, and later on July 2nd and July 3rd a hospital for the Confederate forces who had swept over seminary ridge and taken the grounds. I always think that it’s amazing that in a time of such horror, violence and devastation, the seminary stood. And still stands today. A place of healing, (physically and spiritually) and a beacon of hope. It is a place that endured bloody conflict, and now today stands as a place of education and a place that fosters theological curiosity. A place that trains women and men for Christ’s ministry. Even though the name has changed, “Theological education still takes place on that hill,” as my brother would say.
If you have never been to the grounds of the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, I highly recommend a Sabbath trip there during the summer. It’s worth the drive over the Pennsylvania border. It’s worth taking the time to pray and ponder.
In the words of Union Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who had the rank of colonel and commanding officer of the 20th Maine Regiment during the battle of Gettysburg when he defended an area known as little round top on the 2nd day of battle, and was also a teacher of philosophy and religion at Bowdoin College in Maine before the war:
“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls.”
― Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Best and Blessings,