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We are Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church, U.C.C.  

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WORSHIP SERVICES

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Contemplative Worship - 8:45

Traditional Worship - 10:00

Children's Church - 10:00

Fellowship Time - 11:00



This week

"Fool's Gold"

Rev. Dr. Keith Haemmelmann




Click HERE to view live broadcast of the 10 AM (EST)

Sunday Service Worship

Difficult Decisions

Thursday, July 28 , 2016


I cannot tell you the number of people who, over the past several weeks, have shared their personal struggle with me regarding the state of our national politics.  “Who should I vote for?” they ask.  “I’m not a fan of either presidential candidate!” And I want to share, that though I see as one of my pastoral responsibilities that of faithfully addressing the “issues” that confront our country — after all, one of the things our Founding Fathers desired was for the “pulpit” to be a voice of “Social Conscience”  for our country  (that is why we have a separation of church from state) — it is not my place to tell you for whom you should vote.  That is a private liberty belonging to each of us that I would never seek to take away.  Nonetheless, the inquiries I have received deserve some kind of response as people are not so much asking for “whom” they should vote, but a criteria for “how” to make a decision — a decision with which they are painfully wrestling.  


So what to do?  Is there some word of faith, scripture, to be offered?


Well, the passage I use as my plumb line for matters in the social sphere is found in Micah 6:8 and I offer it as a starting point for your own decision making:


“God has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

    And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

    and to walk humbly with your God.”


The prophet Micah lived in troubling times (737–696 BCE), not unlike our own.  He was the first to predict the downfall of Jerusalem saying that all its pleasures were financed by dishonest business practices that impoverished the city’s citizens. Thus, Micah stood in judgement, not just of leadership, but of the whole nation, as selfishness and corruption had come to permeate,  direct, and define the values and standards of the time.  His message was challenging, but hopeful, as he called everyone to accountability as they were to evaluate what was at the heart of how they were living, as it was placed next to the desires at the heart of God.


What motivated them?  What drove them each day?  What united them?  What values and goals were they willing to sacrifice for?


As a result, Micah provided three criteria for evaluation:  justice, mercy, and a humble, or faithful, walk with God.


1)  Are those seeking to unite and lead us truly committed to a fair and just society, one that works for all, not just some? A society that cares, as Jesus said, “not just for the greatest, but the least of these . . .”  A society that believes our calling in Christ is to build a community where, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male and female, but a oneness, as in Christ.”  Galatians 3: 28


2)  Are those who would lead us, individuals of Mercy?  Now, in Hebrew, the word for Mercy is “hesed", which is feminine in nature, derived from the same root as the word “womb” — truly translating as “steadfast love”.   In other words, for me, are those who want my support driven by a sense of compassion that nurtures and nourishes as well as protects and loves, even when we are least lovable? (like the love of a mother)   Do I see this characteristic in those whom I would have as “my” leader?


3)  And, Micah closes with the most important, but most difficult, quality of all . . . a humble walk with God.  Again, I turn to Jesus, whose teachings clarify the meaning of this for me, as he told those who were to follow him that they must be willing to be “last” in this world, if they were to be first in his kingdom.  And if they were to aspire to positions of leadership, they must do so as a  servant of all.” (Mk. 9:35)


Servanthood — Compassion — A Passion for Fairness and Justice


These are the criteria Micah provides, not just for the evaluation of those we would have govern for us, but of ourselves as well.   For in the end, our leaders are a reflection of us.  None of them are perfect!  Everyone has some baggage!  I know I would hate to constantly be judged today by every decision or action I made in the past.  There must be a place of forgiveness in our hearts lest no one could lead us (and maybe why so many aren’t willing to do so).  But based on “today” and “now” how do the individuals before us measure up to the standards Micah offers?


That is the best I can offer for anyone who finding themselves in a political conundrum these days.  I struggle with much of what is transpiring in the course of this election as it is so . . .  out of the ordinary and mean-spirited . . . on so many levels.  Nonetheless, it is important that I participate in this process to the best of my ability remembering that, voting is a privilege for which many have died, thus the least I can do is respect and honor their sacrifice by casting my vote, to the best of my ability, with thoughtful care and prayerful integrity.


I hope this helps, but also hold tight to the fact that, “God works for good in all things for those who love the Lord.”  And at the end of the day, that is where I place my trust, no matter what.


In Christ,


Rev. Keith A. Haemmelmann