– Monday Muse –
Dear One, in 1958 I remember being thirteen years old and having moved with my family, for the second time, from Dearborn, Michigan to the little, northern town of McBain. My dad had tried once before to make a go of it in the Dutch farming community, but soon headed back to the city for better pay. Three years later he decided to return again to McBain, and simply do without – for all the many benefits that money could not buy. I could never thank him enough for the sacrifice he made.
Some 62 years later, I realize that I never did thank him for moving the family to a place where churches were the cornerstones of the town and the farm homes which dotted the rolling countryside. On Sundays, from our home in town, I could hear church bells ringing and in nice weather – watch neighbors walk to church. On Sundays in Dearborn, except for the crowded Eton Street neighborhood being noisier, the day was no different than any other day of the week.
Although I grew up in McBain, I had little understanding of the Indwelling Holy Spirit and the relationship that one can have with God the Father through Jesus Christ. But there was this unspoken presence, a presence within Spring’s awakening, in Summer’s warmth, in Fall’s artistry, and Winter’s beautiful blanket of snow. I never questioned the presence. I understood it to be the Presence of God. I was grateful to be a part of such a Bible believing community. In many of my friends’ homes a Bible sat close to the dinner table…to be read aloud by their fathers after the evening meal.
Even the church buildings seemed to hold comfort for the soul. I distinctly remember walking home alone one cold, dark, night when the wind was cutting like a knife through bone. After turning the corner, I found a moments shelter by leaning up against the brick wall of the Christian Reformed Church. It wasn’t my church, but it was God’s. About six hundred feet away, at the next corner, stood a Catholic church, the tiniest of churches. On the other side of town stood a Baptist Church and ours, The First Presbyterian. It seemed to me that McBain and all the surrounding community was holy ground. Was it just the contrast between city life and country life playing with a child’s mind, I think not. I believed, and still believe, that it was a gift of His blessed Presence to a community of faithful, obedient followers.
Today, some sixty years later, as seen in the picture, a corn patch stands between the two vacant corners where the two churches once stood. Things ‘they are a changing.’ Let me rephrase that. Things – they have changed. They have changed, and are changing more rapidly…all over this nation – for the teaching has changed. It has, for the most part, become tepid. There is seldom a mention of sin or Man’s call to holiness. Feckless sermons have resulted in busy people opting out of Sunday services. The need for spiritual growth in the Family of God has grown dire.
In a recent Barna research finding it was revealed that 75% of Christians, in the course of a year have only nine, NINE, spiritual conversations. The research was not limited to just evangelistic conversations; it referred to any mention of God, faith, the Bible, church, anything having to do with faith.
These days, more and more people are ignoring God’s teaching, while moving deeper and deeper into moral decay and misery. Many wonder, “How can this be happening?” It appears that we have nearly forgotten the importance of the unchanging Word of God?
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
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