We celebrated All Saints Day today in worship. This got me thinking of some of the saints in my life who have gone before me.
My grandfather, William Steven Matthews, Jr., thwacked this note out on a typewriter in 1940. It is interesting to look at what he wrote compared to where we are today. He wasn’t a pastor only a layperson. As he grew up he was very well-read and taught Bible Studies for many years and sang in the choir at his home church. He wrote at the age of 18. Soon he would go into the Marines and into officers school during World War II. If he were to be alive today, I wonder what his thoughts would be with the current state of the church, his beloved United Methodist denomination, and our nation?
What the Church Should Mean to the World
A large factory employs a good-sized personnel to carry on the business of instructing the thousands of workers in the plant in the desires of the executive body of the company. If, for any reason, this personnel were eliminated or failed to establish communication between the executive branch and the workers, millions of workers would be without guidance and direction and the resultant confusion might easily develop to riot or apportions.
The world today is people with nation after nation, race after race, millions upon millions of persons who have lost their contact with the executive power, the guiding hand — God. They have lost this contact because of the absence of the necessary personnel which should establish, maintain, and interpret the communication. This missing personnel is the Christian Church.
In Europe, especially, the Church as an intermediate between God and man has suffered crushing, crippling blows. In Nazi Germany it was rendered all but completely impotent by forces of avarice and greed. The same was true in Italy, Russia, and Japan. Through war the work and influence of the church has been rendered nearly negligible in over half the world. men are running amok in mad attempts to save themselves from each other, wildly floundering about in hysteria without the spiritual guidance which all the world needs.
In these days of chaotic turmoil on other continents, the United States and the rest of the Americas alone stand free from the ravages of war. Here the Christian Church still has influence, still maintains the connection between men and the Power for all-good. It is our sacred duty as thinking people in a free country where free thinking, free speaking, and love of God and His wishes are not suppressed, to support and sustain the church as the great connecting link between the Executive – God – and mankind, His workers in God’s own industrial plant, the world.