Come Worship With Us!
Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, August 2, 2020
This summer, we will have a VBS like no other! It will be the same style of songs, videos, stories, and fun, but it will be virtual. Register each participant and you will receive a "Stay-on-Track Pack" which will have all the VBS goodies (Gismos for Imagination Station, Bible Buddies, etc.). The week of August 17-20th we will post online a video for each day. The kids simply follow along, and have a great time while learning that "Jesus' Power Pulls us Through!" The material is geared towards children in elementary school, but kids of all ages are welcome to participate (preschoolers, middle schoolers, etc.) just register for the appropriate number of packs! Please register as soon as possible to ensure we have enough materials!
July 29, 2020
Rev. Dr. Ewen Holmes
Book of Hosea, Part I
August 5, 2020
Rev. Dr. Ewen Holmes
Book of Hosea, Part II
August 6 Devotion
Rev. Linda Williams
Like many pastors, I am drawn to funerals. By that I mean, I am drawn to the liturgy, to the words spoken by family and friends, to the music chosen by family, or by the on who passed away.
Many of my clergy friends BY FAR prefer to officiate at funerals rather than at weddings. I don’t necessarily fall into that category; weddings often bring about future baptisms which are certainly a beautiful sacrament and a reminder of the goodness and love of God, present and future.
This past week was one though, not of weddings and baptisms, but one of memorial services and funerals. Because of all the television coverage, I’m referring of course to John Robert Lewis. Yet let us not forget all those who passed away that same week from COVID-19. I’m thinking of the young single mother living in Florida who has now needed to let go of and say goodbye to her little 9-year-old daughter. Thinking too of the 40+ year old doctor from Baltimore who “selflessly” gave his life to care for patients and their families through the years, but especially most recently in Mercy Hospital’s ER and ICU units. Just two weeks ago he made that ultimate sacrifice. It would seem that he lived his life getting into “good trouble.” Doing what was right, even in the face of great difficulties.
Before I reflect further on the Lewis’ services in Alabama and Atlanta, I must digress. These services held in an Alabama college auditorium and a Georgia church made me acutely aware of many families waiting to hold church memorial services for their loved ones. When we see a campaign rally held in an Arizona church and a large funeral held in a Georgia church, it can be emotionally challenging as we struggle state-by-state to make sense of this pandemic and our responses to it.
But as I watched the funeral and memorial services, as well as reading about this remarkable man, John Lewis —his work and his faith — I find myself inspired, just as I do when I attend funerals and hear the eulogies. Or when I have the privilege of meeting with family before I officiate at the funeral of their loved one and prepare my remarks that hopefully share the essence of who this person was and how their lives and love touched so many. What might seem like an awe-some responsibility, more often than not turns out to be an awe-some privilege because I find myself filled with inspiration to keep on — keep on loving, keep on being kind, keep on living to the best of my ability — just as they did — with God’s help.
And so it is that the phrase of Congressman Lewis inspires me — to get into “good trouble.” It’s really quite scriptural, which is no surprise from this man who thought he would grow up to be a preacher and started practicing when he was a very little boy, preaching to the chickens on his parent’s farm. Now I realize that at this stage of my life I don’t have the opportunities to march, to demonstrate, to run for congress, to be a revolutionary. But I do believe God gives each one of us opportunities to get into “good trouble” each and everyday through what may seem like little things, but in the lives of those around us can be quite big. These past four weeks (of a COVID diagnosis) I’ve been the recipient of people getting into “good trouble” through being kind and helpful to my husband and me. Now I realize that in the example I just used, the emphasis is on good, and not trouble. But still it can lead us to think about those things that we can do that might be going against the grain, going against the norm, going against the expectation and in that process to do what is right, to do what is good. To be outspoken about what is good, especially as this goodness is informed by scripture and by our faith in a loving and redeeming God. What that “good trouble” is for each one of us, I don’t know…hard enough for me to know what that means for myself. But maybe it’s something like speaking up against racist or homophobic remarks, supporting our local chapter of the NAACP, writing letters to local and state officials about environmental concerns. Again, I don’t know what “good trouble” means for each one of us.
But I do know that if I look to the example of Jesus — the author and perfecter of our faith (see Hebrews 12) — the answer will come. Jesus got into “good trouble” by turning over the temple tables in the face of greed, spent time with those who were ostracized and not valued by the majority, and challenged the religious norms of the day by exemplifying the power of love over the love of power. He didn’t just go along to get along. He lived out the words of the prophet Micah who wrote that to live out faith we must do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. That’s “good trouble, necessary trouble” if we choose to live that call out each and every day. May God gives us the strength and inspiration to do so.
Adult Spiritual Formation Resources
New Voices...New Verses...
Even with my fear that some might feel we have beat to death the discussion of the coronavirus, this week's lesson seemed to take a broader perspective that encourages us to think beyond just COVID-19. I felt it encourages us to consider how and why we worship now in the face of modified gatherings and in the future when things have become "more open."
The coronavirus pandemic forced churches to shut their doors and quickly move to audio and video worship services. As plans are made for returning to in-person worship, people are wondering about whether to continue their online services. The value and potential of virtual ministry, as well as its challenges and deficits, will be the topic of our next class.
Click on THE WIRED WORD icon above for more information about this week’s discussion topic. Also contact Rev. Linda (686-1360 x2; email firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about THE WIRED WORD and interest in joining in this Thursday evening’s 7 PM Zoom meeting.