Pastor Tom Holloway
Solon Center Wesleyan Church
15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs
(just north of 19 Mile)
As I look at the events that are taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, it makes me ask the question, “Could that happen in Cedar Springs?” Have you thought about that? Or do you just assume that something like that could never happen here? I think it would be foolish of us to think that something like that couldn’t happen here; but at the same time, I believe that the things our community is doing is building in safeguards so that those kinds of things won’t happen here.
What are the safeguards in our community? The first is that we are truly a community. We are a group of people that values a greater sense of purpose. The idea is that there is something larger than our own personal interests. The fact that 8 or 9 churches can come together on a Sunday morning and forego their own offerings and take one large offering and give it to the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association to help the hurt, and needy in our community is proof. Think about that for a second–that’s like taking your family’s paychecks for the week and giving it away to someone or something other than your own needs. Yet, the cell phone bill still comes, the groceries need to be bought, the lights need to stay on, the mortgage payment still needs to be paid, and for the churches the staff still needs to be paid.
That is enough to make church people and leaders squirm and to not get involved in something bigger. But after six years of doing “United,” the churches continue to close their doors to meet in the community. If you’ve never been a part of a church then you might not see that as a big deal, but it shows that there is a common unity and a trust in this community that isn’t prevalent in a lot of other communities.
The second safeguard that we have in our community is a sense of leaving Cedar Springs better than we found it. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave our community better off than it is now. I want to know that when I’m dead and gone that I helped make our little corner of the world better than I found it. Do you know that we have a Community Building Development Team? What is their goal? To make the community better by working together with the current resources, and to remember the past by honoring it, and also building community buildings that will be the highlight of the community.
Why are they doing that? Is it to put their name on a building, or to get a pat on the back? Not at all. They are doing it because they know that an investment in the community that builds community will enhance living in Cedar Springs, which will lead to more families choosing Cedar Springs over other communities. Which also means more of a tax base, more resources to spend at the local stores, more students to help build more and better schools, and more and better athletes that will enhance our already great sports teams.
When many people are in a time in their life where they can just sit back and relax, those people are seeking to develop the place where we live. When we see that others truly care about a larger purpose, it builds trust when others would seek to divide us.
The final safeguard that I believe is in place is simply the Lord. In a time in the world when it’s not popular to claim the name of Jesus, I believe that our community is proud to claim His hand on us. I have seen so many times that God has had His hand on our community it blows my mind.
Jesus was asked what the most important law was and He told them that it was twofold. The first was to love God, and the second was equally important. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. In other words, we need each other in order to be right with God. It’s more than just living your own life, and doing all of the right things. It’s much bigger than that. There is a larger purpose in mind.
The original question was, “Could what happened in Ferguson happen to us?” I believe if we in Cedar Springs continue to love and serve our God, who has been so generous to us, and to put others ahead of ourselves, it can’t happen here.
But it’s up to us individually, and also collectively. So the next time you are tempted to think bad about someone or their actions, trust that they have your best interest at heart. It’s up to you!