January 24, 2014

The Rev. Rodney B. Weaver: Where to from here?

— Christmas and New Year’s are over. 2014 is before us. The celebrations for the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. are over. On the world stage, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will begin on Feb. 7. The Super Bowl is Feb. 2.

Locally, Dalton has seen a resurgence in its economy. The carpet industry appears to be rebounding. Businesses are moving here and will be a boost to our local infrastructure. The crime rate has lessened. Our city and county officials are busy trying to reinforce the positive aspects of Dalton. They are using techniques to do more with less by being fiscally prudent. Our local churches are busy with activities that support the saved and invite neophytes to Christ. But where to from here?

This is not a new question or a new phenomenon. What new challenges must be tackled? What new issues still present themselves? As a people, indivisible by God, what must we continue to embrace, to tackle, to improve, to grow?

This question was also asked by the Israelites when Moses died and the mantle of leadership passed to Joshua. After the Egyptian exodus, the 40 years of the wilderness wondering, a new generation was ready to entry Canaan. But how was this task to be accomplished?

In Joshua 1:1-9, God charges Joshua, who in turn charges the Israelites. He outlines the where to from here for the Israelites. He prepares Joshua and the nation of Israelites about the importance of courageous and constant faith. This inspires the Israelites nation to move forward and to possess Canaan.

On a local level, our mayor will leave at some point to pursue the opposition of the governor of Georgia. His ideas and forward thinking for our city will move to embrace a vision for the entire state. His leadership will be sorely missed.  

Our commissioners continue to seek ways to maintain a responsible government. Our local school boards continue to seek means to expand educational opportunities, to improve graduation rates and to safely educate school populations. The recent article by Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Brian Anderson noted the positive highlights about our city.

From a religious perspective, the Israelites were charged and so are we in these contemporary times. We are charged to address and stress the faith element. We must have a courageous and consistent faith that our community will be able to make adjustments in spite of any challenges.

As a faith community, we are emboldened in the belief that no challenge is insurmountable and that with God all things are possible. This phrase is easily said but not as easily actualized. But we, setting aside our differences and highlighting our similarities, will be able to move from “Where to from here?” to “We shall overcome.” We will be economically stable, educationally mobile and spiritually sound. We will survive. We will thrive.

Rodney Weaver is the pastor of Alexander Chapel United Methodist Church.