My faith journey has been long, by the grace of God, and it continues. It started in the Methodist church in Dumas, TX. In the late 40’s, as a teen, I was an active participant in youth activities, Sunday School and MYF. I have fond memories of summer camps at Ceta Glenn in the Palo Duro Canyon and at McMurry College in Abilene.
However, oftentimes church services weren’t as pleasant. Sermons proclaimed, “God is going to get you for that.” It seemed that very little a teenager might do was permitted. We constantly heard “Don’t do this,” or “Don’t do that.” Dancing was not permitted at any school activity; a Christian couple was criticized for inviting a group of teens to their home for square dancing. We asked ourselves, “What’s the use?” and wondered how we could ever please God.
My parents were raised Presbyterian. In 1948, a Presbyterian church was organized in town. A young minister and his family were assigned to lead. He had been a Marine Corp Chaplin and saw first-hand some of the bitter island-hopping war in the Pacific. He spent days and nights in muddy fox holes with his troops; Marines next to him had been killed. Needless to say, he had a different outlook on the nature of God and Jesus Christ. He brought the message of a caring and loving God to the teens of his church. It was such a relief and a joy to hear the saving grace of Jesus emphasized and that God made us and loves us. That Presbyterian minister later came to Richardson and served the First Presbyterian Church from 1960-1966. Karl Ernst passed away while at a summer youth camp doing the thing he loved. I think that is the way he would have wanted to end his ministry, with the young people of his church.
My journey has continued at Christ United. Being a part of the building campaign for the Sanctuary was uplifting. The sermons of our ministers reinforce my belief in a loving God. Don’s sermons about prayer have changed my life. Starting the day with prayer nearly always makes a better day. I live each day with two favorite verses: John 1:1-5, which tells us who made the universe and all that is in it. The second is the Letter of Romans which reminds us redemption is provided by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, faith and God’s grace.