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Do you remember way back in Social Studies - 100 years or so ago for some of you - when they taught us the story of the American Revolution? 

They told us about our country’s decision to break away from being a British colony and to instead become an independent nation.

Some of what we heard was right on the mark, and some of it was a bit shaded to make it perhaps a bit more kid friendly, but in its essence it was a story about why we are not all British citizens.

And do you also remember how on July 4, 1776, a group of American leaders came together to sign a document called the Declaration of Independence.

It was quite a read, a reminder to King George, as well as to the new Americans why independence mattered.

And do you also remember what Benjamin Franklin, you know the guy who they say discovered electricity by flying a kite that got hit by lightning, and whose face is on the $100.00 bill, said?

He said, it is reported, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately".

Do you understand what he meant?

With the Fourth of July coming soon, this story seems an apt way to illustrate a particular concept that is essential for this faith community to remember as we go through some really big changes -  like all this crazy stuff about the pastor retiring.

Franklin of course, meant something like, “we all better have each other’s backs in this escapade, because the British are not going to take this “independence thing” and the loss of taxes and other income happily, and so may in fact try to hunt us all down and execute us.”

Perhaps a bit crazier than what happens to a church during a pastoral change but you must see how it applies. 

For this thing called change to work, the key is for the community of faith to hang together!

You understand, for the disciples, Jesus is gone! 

Ascended on the 40th day after his resurrection, the community of faith now relies on firstly, the presence of the Holy Spirit in them, and secondly the decision of the community to focus on being together.

The author of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke, tells us that the community in Jerusalem just kept on meeting. 

They gathered, they shared, they broke bread, both eating together as well as celebrating the Lord’s supper together, and though it does not say so here in Acts, we also know they sang together, prayed together, laid on hands for healing and to choose new leaders together.

They continued to go out into public and share the faith, and they always invited new folks to come and join them. 

They continued on, living as if the Lord himself was right in their midst as they lived out their faith, because they believed he was.

They didn’t give up!

They didn’t give in!

They didn’t abandon each other…

Or the community while they had the chance to model what it was like to be a disciple.

Change is hard!

I had to tell my doctor that not only I was retiring, but I was moving and changing healthcare plans. 

And basically, he looked like he wanted to say, “Oh crap”.

But instead, God bless him, he thought about the possible ways of solving the conundrum! 

And now, while I search for new doctors with a new health plan in Albany, I have a telehealth appointment with Dr. Hines in January, so that my prescriptions don’t run out, and I have a script for an A1c test I can get taken upstate.

With all the crazy changes Jesus leaving caused, the disciples decided, with a little help from heaven, to get to work. The angels actually had to tell them to quit staring up into heaven where Jesus disappeared and get back to Jerusalem!

That they had to create a community of faith that was strong, resilient, focused, faithful, and even vibrant!

And this community can do so too!

Think about this. 

Because of their obvious faith, hundreds were joining the community!

And all of this even before Deacons were a twinkle in the Apostle’s eyes.

Change is hard. 

But we folks of the Otisville – Mt. Hope Presbyterian Church, faced with a bowl of lemons - make lemonade and serve it at the Kafe on Sunday morning.

God has got us – everyone of us!