Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-3
Only in the darkness can you see the stars.Martin Luther King Jr.
They still tell the story at the College of William & Mary of daffy, magnificent President Ewell. For a century and a half, this prestigious Virginia school had been a leader among American universities. Then came the Civil War. In the hard days of reconstruction that followed, William & Mary went bankrupt. Soon it had a deserted campus, decaying buildings, and no students.
As with so many Southern schools after that tragic war, everyone wrote it off as dead. Everyone, except its president; he had given his best years to advancing the liberal arts through that school. He refused to give up now. So, every morning, President Ewell went to the deserted campus, climbed the tower of its main building, and rang the bells, calling the school to class.
He behaved as though the school was still there.
People thought he was crazy. Nevertheless, every day for seven years, President Ewell rang the bells at William & Mary, in defiance of the despair and hopelessness that would destroy everything he held valuable. Eventually and miraculously, it worked. Others caught his vision. Students, teachers, and money returned. Today, America’s second-oldest university thrives again, because of the hope of a single man.
Today, many people are struggling with signs of decay, disease and a bleak future.
But they persist.
They work. They go about their business. They meet with friends for support and encouragement. They worship God. They read their Bibles. They pray on bended knee. They give thanks. They help others in their time of need. They walk humbly with God.
They’re ringing the bells of hope.
And someday, they shall have their reward.
God of grace and mercy, you are our hope. I cast myself upon you in utter faith and confidence. There is none besides you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.