We left our church family last month, celebrating Christmas of 1942, 75 years ago. I have noted in previous months that some of the material presented here is found in our church Archives. I also check out the Girard News, our town’s weekly newspaper from that time frame, available on microfilm at Girard Free Library.
The previous month of December had marked the first full year of our country being in World War II, which had begun for us on December 7, 1941 with the surprise attack on our Navy at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, described as a “date that will live in infamy” by our President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Now we were entering the second year of wartime. Many Girard boys were in battle zones, including some from our church family. Wartime rationing included sugar, meat, gasoline (four gallons per week) and, beginning January 1st, shoes.
Still, church life went on as usual. On Wednesday January 6th, the Women’s Society of Christian Service met at the Church in the evening. The Devotionals were conducted by Miss Mary Frack and Miss Ella Geiss conducted the study in “Training For Christian Leadership”.
The next evening, the 7th, the Official Board met in the Church at 7:30 pm. Rev. Maly opened the meeting by leading all in the Lord’s Prayer. The minutes of the last meeting and the Financial Report were read and approved.
Mrs. Powers reported for the Membership Committee, that 20 callers were making calls on the membership and that 12 of the 20 had met with each person on their list and turned in the results. The remaining 8 would be finished shortly. The Janitor Committee reported that beginning January 1st, the new Janitor is Mr. Blossom who replaced Mr. Crum, the previous janitor. Mr. Teeter reported for the Sunday School. He stated that attendance was about the same as the previous year and that the Sunday School had donated $400 to the Church Building Fund. Mrs. Burtsfield reported on WSCS activities and Rev. Maly reported on his pastoral activities. Mr. Crider asked Rev. Maly to look into purchasing Church Letterhead paper and report back to the Board. (You may remember in December “Glance” I reported that Rev. Maly had to ask the Board’s permission to order special bulletins for the Christmas Eve service because printing was a significant expense at the time.) The Board then adjourned.
On the following Wednesday evening, the 13th, the Friendly Class met at the church for their monthly dinner meeting. A group of High School studendts provided entertainment after the meal. The next day, the 14th, Groups 1, 4 and 5 of WSCS met at member’s homes-group #1 at Mrs. Kendall’s home on Ward Ave, group #4 at the home of Mrs. Russell Swegan on Trumbull Ave., and Group #5 at the home of Mrs. John Buckley of W. Liberty St. Also on the 14th, the Alethia Class met a the home of Miss Joesephine Didier on E. Wilson Ave. Miss Mary Franck spoke on “Methodists in Africa”.
Then on Sunday morning, after the conclusion of services, at 11:40 am, the official board held a special meeting. Rev. Maly asked permission of the Board to attend the Ohio Pastors’ Convention from Feb. 1st to Feb. 4th. Permission was given. Although the price was not mentioned in the minutes, Rev. Maly was also given permission to order 1000 Church Letterhead Stationery and 1000 envelopes.
Meanwhile, there was a war on.
Remember the saying "keep on truckin"? Though it appears to have originated in a 1930's song, it became popular to me in the 1970's. It was another way of saying keep on trying, don't give up and hang in there. Any way, as I was reading 2 Timothy one morning, which by the way I've read numerous times, I came to chapter 2 verse 12 and I never got any further. The first part of that passage goes like this, "if we endure, we will also reign with him".
Over the years, my home bible has become full of underlined passages, circled paragraphs and lots of things I've written wherever I can find space on a particular page. However, there was absolutely nothing next to this verse, or even this chapter, that is until that early December morning. Those 8 words stopped me in my tracks and over the next hour or so, I wrote down many thoughts, saved the verse in my phone and even texted it to a few people, as it really inspired me. I also came to realize how unimportant all the stuff in my life is and I don't just mean possessions, I mean all the "stuff" banging around in my head as well. I'm sure many of you have heard the saying "you can't take it with you". Well that never rang more true to me after I read that passage.
So what are we working for here on this earth? What are our goals? What to we want out of life? If it's all about possessions, keeping up with the Jones' and acquiring as much stuff as we can, we're probably traveling down a bumpy and mucky road that will dead end into a place I know I don't want to end up. As I contemplated over this passage, I also thought of Philippians 3 and even went back and read that chapter. I encourage you to stop reading this and go read that chapter, then come back and finish reading the rest of this post.
Welcome back. The word that stuck in my head after I finished reading all of those wonderful words is also the title of this post, ENDURE! That word offered such encouragement to me. Knowing that if we do endure, if we do keep on truckin', we will end up where? REIGNING WITH HIM! So if we can just endure, if we can just trust in Him, if we can believe that He is enough (see Job) and endure through everything that life can and will throw at us, we will end up reigning with Him. After really thinking about that, many of my so called problems in life didn't seem to be very problematic. So if things in your life feel like they're going so badly that you don't even want to get out of bed some days, or face the world, you must endure. If you're short on solutions and feel like your prayers aren't being heard, endure. If you feel like everything you do seems to turn out differently than what you expected, endure. If everything is going wrong and you just feel like giving up, endure. And when you feel like it will never get better, most definitely endure.
Remember, our time on this earth is minuscule, like a spec of sand on a beach. We are only here a very short time and when we depart this world, all the possessions we've gained will be gone and won't mean a darn thing. It's what we leave behind as a witness of Christ that is important. How we share our faith with and serve others. What we leave to our children, family and friends as Christ's ambassadors is what matters. If we strive for worldly pleasures until the day we die, it's very possible that we may have already lived. However, if we strive for what pleases God, what glorifies His name, furthers His kingdom and spreads His word, then in death we will end up living forever. The treasures of this world are short lived, but the treasures that await us if we endure are forever.