Dave Smith


            The days seem to dwindle down into summer fading too soon.  Winds and storms push through and gush hours away from leisure, heat and humidity stifle the do’s into procrastinated wish-I’d-done-that-a-week-ago, and puffed clouds against azure skies bathed in sunshine bring the lazy times of summer smiles.  Against all this naturing statement on our July days, we weekend away with family and friends, chase fish or campsites, rush to the Disney or Sea World phantasmagorical escapes, and wearily return to laundry.  Campaigns tell us all that sits so very wrong with our country or the opponent and nowhere do I seem to find the one that offers solutions.  News hangs a divisive, misty fog on even the best of moments.  Race gets played into a caterwauling rampage that blinds reality.  Occupy this and such and such a life matters – a time of catch phrase that leads to, well…., what?

            I have concluded some time ago that the only future lies “In God We Trust.”  Leaving the phrase on money, in our founding documents, on buildings and banners really does not matter.  That phrase must be emblazoned on the heart and lived in action.  Words do not mean a lot.  We hear them every day spewed in voices we know have shady truths, smeared faith at best.  We find cars offered from “Christian dealerships,” see homes sold by “God fearing realtors,” and look to dating sites presenting mates reborn to Jesus.  In God We Trust has become a tool, not a truth.  Advertising and campaigning use the cross, the implication of God’s favor in product or service, to sell.  Money changing in the temple has achieved new heights.  And slowly destroyed the faith of the young now associating the Lord with the façade of selling the Bible to get funds for a church.  And we all wonder, “Well…what’s happened to faith?  Why do we lose the youth and why do young at hearts feel such despair at the loss?”

            I shall not get too much on a rant.  Doesn’t fit with my Sunday offerings.  But I, too, have a despair in seeing so many, many young people wandering – surviving the gushes, heat, and humidity life brings by what they perceive as their own doing and not the Grace of our Lord.  I see the escapist attitude climbing, the hate of jobs, the run from the so-called mundane existence of working and building a foundation called home and family.  I see it in my own children, now young adults, and I know the struggle VELC experiences in efforts to draw kids to Sunday education and activity, to junior high and high school sharing and faith growth.  We pay for congregational studies, plans, and evaluations when the truth seems more obvious.  Change, update, restructure, establish purpose, identify goals – affirm our truths.  Yes these help us be in the current time.  I do not think change to attract and advertise activity to draw gets us away from the connection media has made with money changing in the temples.  As VELC does, we MUST continue to present the foundation so many young folks seek.  Jesus is the cornerstone on which a life can be built.  Christ brings us to God and the Holy Spirit shows us our journey.  We at VELC know that truth and in “God We Trust.”

            The breeze of post-storm night flits across clover blossoms in the back yard.  The pines sway and billows puff the canvas on the grill.  The empty swing sways to and fro, carries a spirit of “this is good” in each move.  I pray we all continue to escape to our faith, to our Lord and Savior who patiently waits for all to find the way.  What we offer in love will bring results.  Cannot be bought, it’s free in the forgiving if we but kneel and ask.