The Rest of the Story
Some of us remember newscaster Paul Harvey's "Now Here's the Rest of the Story", where he gave us the inside scoop. The 2014 movie, Unbroken, was a true story of an unlikely WWII hero, Louie Zamperini, based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand. Louie was a child of Italian immigrants in Torrance, California in the 30s. He couldn't stay out of trouble and his high school was not happy with him. His older brother knew how he could run (sometimes from the cops) and got him to try out for the track team. Louie became a distance runner, so good that finished 8th in the 1936 Olympics, setting a record in the final lap for the 5,000 meter race. At 19, he was a favorite for the 1940 games, ultimately cancelled because of Hitler. He enlisted in the Army Air Force and on a bombing run in 1943, his plane was shot down over the Pacific. He and another airman survived on a raft for 47 days and were captured by the Japanese. Louie, already know for his Olympic exploits, became more famous when he refused to broadcast an anti American message.
After the war, he was accorded hero's status and toured with the USO telling his story. This instant fame, lingering PTSD and a drinking problem brought him to the point of losing his wife and perhaps his life. Eventually, he found Jesus and everything changed. But the movie stopped short of covering that part of his life. A new movie, Unbroken: Path to Redemption does that. Directed by Harold Cronk (God's Not Dead), it looks at this important part of Louie's life. At his lowest point, he attended a revival service in Los Angeles conducted by a young preacher, Billy Graham. That night, Louie gave his life to Jesus, stopped drinking, and found peace to the extent that the nightmare of WWII ceased to haunt him. He spent the remainder of his life telling his story which now included his faith.
His son, Luke, was joined by many others in arranging for the "rest of the Louie Zamperini story" to be told. In the new movie, Will Graham plays the part of his grandfather.
On September 30, members of the choir from Buncombe UMC, under the direction of Rosemary Hughes, led our Praise and Singing service. This is the third year that Buncombe has been with us, every one a memorable occasion. This service included a heavier dose of audience participation as three segments featured favorite hymn requests. Congregants called off the hymn numbers and Rosemary played them for us. We responded by singing lustily, frequently on key. Here's a sample.
#98 - To God Be the Glory
#77 - How Great Thou Art
#369 - Blessed Assurance
#593 - Here I Am Lord
#364 - Because He Lives
#474 - Precious Lord, Take My Hand
#530 - Are Ye Able
#328 - Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place
The choir performed several numbers including The Quiet Heart, For the Autumn Sky and Give Me Jesus, the latter featuring a solo by Rosemary. We could have probably gone all day without running out of hymn favorites but hunger set in and we adjourned to the Community Center for a delicious meal provided by the Kuckery.
It wasn't very long ago that the future of New Hope was to say the least, uncertain. Through God's guidance we were blessed with leadership from the pulpit with Sandra and now Kevin. We were inspired to fan the flame and rekindle. An important part of the renewal was bringing friends back to Rowesville with our singing services and fellowship dinners. These Fifth Sunday occasions have become a mainstay of our worship experience. Buncombe and Shandon have been at the forefront of this undertaking and for that we are forever grateful. We are also indebted to Ed Hinshaw, Mardelle Nashan and Kermit Shrawyer who have brought their
musical gifts to our congregation over the years. We are also grateful to friends who make a special effort to be with us. God bless you one and all. As Kevin put it on Sunday, music has a special place in the worship of God. We look forward to the next time we all get together to praise God in song.
The Other Timothy
Christians are familiar with Timothy, who traveled with the Apostle Paul in the pages of the Bible. Another Timothy, a bishop in the Christian Church, lived in the 9th century. Most of us think of Christianity spreading from the Near East to the West. The Emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, which included much of Europe. But the Church of the East deserves mention in the annals of early Christianity. In Mesopotamia (Iraq), Timothy presided over 19 metropolitans (senior officers) and 85 bishops, while in England, there were only two Metropolitans. Iraq was through the late Middle Ages as much a cultural and spiritual heartland of Christianity as was France, Germany or Ireland.
In learning and scholarship, the Eastern churches in 800 AD were at a level that Latin Europe would not reach at least until the thirteenth century. Under Timothy, new sees were created at Rai near Tehran, and in Syria, Turkestan, Armenia, and Dailumaye on the Caspian Sea.
And yet this older Christian world perished, destroyed so completely that its memory is forgotten by all except academic specialists. During the Middle Ages, church hierarchies were destroyed, priests and monks were killed, enslaved, or expelled, and monasteries and cathedrals fell silent.
- excerpted from The Lost History of Christianity. John Jenkins.