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By: Curtis Schofield, Spiritual Insights

 

Recently, through the church channel I reached back into the past to the 1970’s and listened to Bishop Fulton Sheen, a Roman Catholic priest, who was one of the first leaders of the Church to use television to share hope. He was seeking to bring a message of hope to what he called “a people caught up in the down cycle of life.”

He was speaking to a generation who had experienced World War I and World War II, and who were facing a future darkened by the mushroom cloud of the spread of atomic weapons.

He called our attention to our grandparents who gave us hope because they were the people of the 19th century, a people of hope, living in one of the up cycles of life.

The 19th century was one of many great inventions and heroes who refused to flounder in the ashes and wreckage of the moment and stood on something solid, called faith, and used the fallen stones of their civilization to build new homes and factories, and places of worship.

A great missionary movement began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A cry went out from the youth, “Let us win the world to Christ in this generation.”

Young people, caught again the spirit of hope that was experienced in the eighteenth century when Francis Asbury, a 26–year–old young man from England, landed on the shores of North America to lead and expand a Methodist movement that found thousands of young men eager to answer the call of spiritually leading the pioneers of hope on the frontier.

Hope spread by providing “preaching places’ and Christian communities, in nearly every community in this new land.

Bishop Sheen said these were people of hope, not because life was easy, but because they refused to be satisfied with just the answers of “how”, but were determined to find answers to the questions of “Why.”

In the 1950’s through the 1970’s Bishop Sheen called the post war generation to seek from their faith the answer to the “why” question.

He closed his message by pointing to Jesus Christ who lived and died victoriously because He knew why He was here up this earth. “If you seek to save your life, you will lose life, but if you give your life for my sake and the gospel, you will find life" (Matthew 10:39).

Curtis Schofield is a retired United Methodist minister. He and his wife, Clara, have served two churches in Dade County. In retirement he volunteers through Trenton United Methodist Church to help small churches.


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