Occasional Thoughts

Pressing On

We made the news this week!

The Morrisons Cove Herald usually runs a summary of newsworthy events looking back across history—events that happened 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125 years ago. In the May 23, 2024 edition of the paper, we got a mention in that section.

On May 26, 1899, the Morrisons Cove Herald reported

Six bicyclists from Salemville rode to the German Seventh Day Baptist
conference at Snowhill, Franklin County. They expected to also visit
the battlefield at Gettysburg before returning.

The Herald is right—that is newsworthy.

Biking to Waynesboro is not on my list of things do? Is it on yours? That is a long ride.

Who knows how long the trip would have taken them in 1899. Today, Google estimates that a bicycle trip from our church building to the the historical marker for the Snow Hill Cloister will cover about 80 miles and take about 8 hours. From the Cloister to the Gettysburg National Park is another approximately 25 miles and 2 1/4 hours.

Their way would have been harder than it would be for us. Their bikes were less efficient. Their roads were not as smooth. Sheetz wasn’t around to provide MTO food and bottled water. The trip would certainly have been long and tiring.

Sooner or later, each of the six would probably think something like, “Just keep pedaling. Just keep pedaling.”

Somewhere along the line, they’d realize that even though they were grateful for the ride, to exercise the freedom that comes with biking — that biking still is work. Biking may have been easier work than what was likely waiting for them at home on the farm — but it is still work.

Those six would have known going into the trip that they were setting themselves up for a few long, hard days of physical exertion, bumpy roads, and unknowable weather.

Yet, they planned to go. In a very real sense, they were pressing on. They saw the coming hardship, and they took the ride anyway. The goal, in their minds, was worth it.

I hope they had a delightful time at the Conference gathering in Snow Hill. I hope the visit to Gettysburg reminded them of the great and terrible things that come with war.

But even more, I hope that they were pursuing Jesus.

Of all the goals we have, of all the work we can do, we should discover in our hearts, and heads, and hands that pressing on and living into the goals He has set for us is the most valuable work of all.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and
participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so,
somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my
goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took
hold of me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is
ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has
called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 2:10–14

German Seventh Day Baptist Church
786 Golden Rule Drive
New Enterprise, PA 16664

office: (814) 766-0118