I closed my sermon this past weekend on the Historic Campus with a reference to Arthur Miller's play, The Death of a Salesman. After a brief summary of the main character's (Willie Loman) tragic life and suicide, I captured a poignant moment at Willie's graveside during which his wife asks her son, "Why did he do it, Biff? Why did he do it?" Biff answers, "Ah shucks, Mom; ah shucks! He had all the wrong dreams!" Biff had watched his father's endless pursuit of the things of this world; he had witnessed his father's slide into depression as contentment continued to elude him; he had seen his father ultimately come to realize that his life had been misguided, wasted as he chased all the wrong dreams.
Like Bluffton's ancient live oaks, during the previous 160 years our roots have grown strong and deep; so much so that they now support and nourish a voluminous canopy sheltering a host of worship, fellowship, ministry and discipleship activities intent on one mission: reaching present and future potential Willie Lomans with the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that they embrace a transforming relationship with the God of the ages . . . and thus avoid their lives becoming nightmares.
By God's grace all that we have done has been generously supported by those of His children who have chosen this congregation to be their spiritual home. You are The Church of the Cross and your sacrificial pledge of time, talent and treasure is needed if our witness for the Kingdom of God is to be even stronger in our 161st year. Like others in his generation, no doubt in some form or fashion Willie had heard the hope offered in the Gospel; but he had obviously not heeded it. In the end he died despairing that he had never really lived. Unlike Willie, we've heard and heeded the Good News; our lives have been redeemed and we are living in the light of hope, now and forever . . . thank God! And thanking God for all He has done in and through us and His Church is what we'll be doing together in our Thanksgiving services this weekend. I pray that you will respond with gratitude to Christ's gentle invitation to trust and to follow and to give by joining Becky and me as we place our pledges for 2015 on the altar during worship, November 22 & 23.
Never doubt God's love for you or mine,