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Joy in the Hard Places: The Joy of Unity

“E Pluribus Unum.”

That was the motto recommended by a committee of Founding Fathers to explain the seal they had designed for the newly minted United States of America.  Their seal featured symbols of the six countries from which the nation’s populace had come surrounded by 13 shields representing the states.  E Pluribus Unum—From Many One—explained their vision of unity amid diversity.  And although their design was rejected, their motto wasn’t.  It still adores The Great Seal still.

Unfortunately, the vision of the founders is at risk.  Our current culture appears to have abandoned E Pluribus Unum in favor of “Ex Uno Plures”— “From One, Many.”  Its vision seems to be a nation divided into ever-smaller factions.

To read more, Philippians 2’1-11 Joy in the Hard Places

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Joy in the Hard Places: “Yes, I Will Rejoice”

Aron Ralston loved to climb mountains. So committed was he that he left a job with Intel in Phoenix and moved to Aspen, Colorado, with the goal of climbing Colorado’s 14ers–59 mountains that soar above 14,000 feet.

The year after his move Ralston was hiking alone in Utah when he began to descend a narrow canyon. He had done that kind of thing dozens of times, but this time was different. An 800-bound bolder became dislodged, smashed his left hand, and pinned his crushed right hand against the canyon wall. Ralston was trapped. He couldn’t move the boulder, no one knew where he was, and he had no way to call for help. He was literally between a rock and a hard place.

But Ralston, whose story is told in the movie “127 Hours,” was between a rock and a hard place figuratively as well. The only options he way were both horrific. He could slowly die of dehydration or break his own forearm and amputate his lower arm and hand.

That we know Ralston’s story tells you the choice he made.

Ralston faced a dilemma—the choice between two equally bad options. And, I believe, the Apostle Paul could have sympathized.

To read more:  Philippians 1’18b-30 Joy in the Hard Places