Summer time and the menus begin to change a bit. Grills get a workout as do picnic baskets. Ice cream makes a frequent appearance…for some, almost daily in the heat of summer! Food is good! We work up an appetite in the activities of work, vacation, travel, and play!
As we come to the Lords Table this Sunday we are reminded that however we understand The Lords Supper or Holy Communion it is a taking of spiritual food represented by bread and the cup. As with most meals, at any season, we should look forward to it!
As United Methodists we continue the practice of John Wesley of inviting ALL to join in, all ages, all denominations. The table is the Lords Table not ours to restrict or judge who is worthy. We each are invited to examine ourselves, our conscience before we approach the Sacrament but all are invited.
This sounds a lot like any meal between friends and family when all are assumed to be welcome. And if a visitor drops by we usually say, “pull up a chair and eat with us!” If someone wants “seconds” we don’t think twice about passing the plate or bowl! And there is most always an abundance at hand so no one goes away hungry. Sunday dinners growing up were often THE big meal of the week!
We truly feed upon the Word and upon the Sacrament of Holy Communion and are well fed and nourished for each week of life’s journey toward the final complete Heavenly Banquet. May it be so this Sunday as we gather together to ask the Lords blessing! Bring the family, the visitor, the friend, bring those who hunger and thirst for the Bread of Life in every season, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring!
Isaiah was given a vision of angels, hot coals, his uncleanness, and a heavenly voice. From that encounter he says “Here am I, O God! Send me!” Nicodemus is told he “must be born again” through the Spirit and all his future before him will change! Paul in Romans 8 says it’s either us and our sinful nature leading us….or it’s the Spirit leading us!
Three remarkable passages about change, transformation, and Who is bringing this change to pass! True enough, we can coast along in routine and habit to a point and then….what once worked, doesn’t work anymore! At this point, God is already ahead of us like a Father waiting on a prodigal to come home.
This Sunday we will remember how important change is whether at times by force or by persuasion. Memorial Day weekend reminds us that service to a greater cause can result in the greatest sacrifice of our own life. We remember and honor those who died in service to our country. Those who died to bring about change from threat or injustice. It is also Peace With Justice Sunday where we acknowledge that if there is no justice amongst us in community many are left without real peace. The struggle to live by the Spirit (Romans 8) is never ending and is always about Social Holiness not just private, personal piety.
We remember that John Wesley’s “transformation” at a church study on May 4, 1738 was not just about his change but was to lead to change in English society for the better. Some historians say that the Wesleyan movement in England saved that country from the violence like that of the French Revolution!
Change and transformation leading to peace in our lives and justice throughout the land. Such is the message of the Prophets, Apostles, and Jesus!
“Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory” (Psalm 50:15 NLT).
When I ask people what keeps them from trusting in God, they sometimes say, “Well, I haven’t seen what’s on the other end, so I’m not going to trust it.” Yet they trust all the time in things they can’t see.
We can’t see television or radio waves, but we watch TV and listen to the radio. We can’t see cell phone waves, but we use our phones every day without thinking.
It’s selective trust. We trust what we want to trust.
What about you? Are you willing to trust in the One who is unseen but is more reliable and more dependable than any technology this world could create? Are you willing to commit your life to him?
If you are, I encourage you to pray this prayer:
“Dear God, forgive me for my pride and for thinking that I don’t need you in my life. I’m sorry. I admit that I need rescuing. I need saving. There is no way I can pay for my sins on my own.
“And so I’m asking you, Jesus, as much as I understand it, to rescue me and set me free. I am calling on you because you’ve said that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
“I want to commit my life to you, and I want to learn to trust you and know you better. Give me the better life and set me free. In your name I pray, Amen
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Too often we view our work as a curse rather than a divine calling. Renowned author Dorothy Sayers is precisely right in observing that we need “a thoroughgoing revolution in our whole attitude to work.”
Namely, that our work should be viewed not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money, but as a way of life in which we find personal delight and magnify God’s glory. Sayers believes work, “should be thought of as a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and that. . . (men and women), made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.”
With the right attitude your work can be a source of personal blessing and a vehicle for glorifying God.
Train yourself to recognize the hand of God in everything that happens to you. – Andrew Murray
Another Sunday, another “bases loaded!” Using our Spring and Summer pastime sport to illustrate this coming Sunday is fitting as we have (at least) three wonderful occasions to celebrate:
1. The 50th Year of the United Methodist Church
2. Pentecost Sunday
3. Our local church heritage at both Locks Memorial and Kedron
You can decide which “base” you would place each on. Wherever, we want to “bring them ALL home!”
There are at least 19 Wesleyan denominations in the USA. Largest of these is US the UMC at about 8.7 million. There are 29 million Methodist members throughout the world in 108 countries. We are a presence most everywhere to bear witness to the Gospel, the grace of God upon us, “warm hearts, trained minds, extended hands to help.”
And Pentecost reminds us of the indwelling Holy Spirit, our Advocate, the Lord Jesus bestows on us to renew us along our spiritual path. John Wesley had the Holy Spirit empower him to spread the Methodist movement in spite of his previous failures as a missionary and as a despondent, beaten down Christian!
And here we are today off Almaville Road and Rocky Fork Road continuing to offer the Gospel in word and deed following both old and new ways of sharing what previous generations in these two congregations have done since the early 1800s!
A lot to be thankful for, a lot to look forward to! Bases loaded? Step up to the plate and help bring all of our historic, spiritual blessings home in worship this Sunday!
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. – Lamentations 3:40
I took a course in seminary and the professor told us that we could ask him anything we wanted, that his life was an open book. He would answer any question about anything. I didn’t believe him, but as the semester went on, I witnessed transparency in this man unlike anything I’d ever witnessed before.
It can be difficult to be real and open and honest, but if I want to continue growing and learning and being open to the awesome things God is doing, I have to at all costs keep myself accountable and let others know exactly where I am, what I’m feeling, what I’m concerned about; in short, just where I am emotionally.
When I don’t do that, that’s where the journey into isolation begins for me, and I head off into an unhealthy emotional state.
I want to be honest and exhibit integrity at all times. I want to be someone that others can trust and turn to knowing there will be no judgment. And I want others to come to me in the same way.
What keeps us from this transparency in life? I know one thing that hinders transparency is pride. Satan has used this since Adam and Eve to put a wedge between man and God. That’s why we have to put on the whole armor of God.
Our battles are spiritual. Don’t let pride get in the way of God’s call for you to live a transparent life.
Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen. – Theophile Gautier
Mother’s Day has deep roots in Christian Faith and originated as a day of recognition by a Methodist mother and daughter, Ann and Anna Jarvis, in 19th century America. And to this year of 2018 we have almost a century and a half of publicly honoring the great persons we call “mother.”
And the list might go on a bit since grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends have often been AS mothers to many of us. After my grandfather died in 1961 my grandmother came to live with us. She lived with us until her death in 1976. I was blessed to have her as a “second mother.” She also was indeed my widowed mother’s strongest advocate and best confidante.
If we step out of the pews this Sunday and let people give witness to the women in their lives we would go way into the night! And sure enough….mothers (and others like them) would go into the church kitchens to fix us supper while the testimonies went on!
From the Blessed Mother Mary to a 20th century Saint in Mother Teresa, no age nor generation has been without the influence of the personal characteristics of Proverbs 31:10-31 and Ephesians 6:1-3. And add to that all the scriptures which uphold the command to love, we are left to marvel at how God blesses us with relationships which endure to the end.
“God couldn’t be everywhere all the time so God gave us mothers,” is not theologically correct but tells a welcome truth we have experienced!
Come celebrate your mother and her kind this Sunday! And why not continue that celebrating and honoring from here on out!
Recently I have been transcribing notes that my grandfather (deceased) left in some of his journals that he kept throughout his life. A couple of days ago I came across this list that he wrote in December 1950. I wanted to offer it to you for a thought for the day. I hope it inspires you as it has inspired me.
45 Life Lessons
- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
- Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
- Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
- Pay off your credit cards every month.
- You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
- Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
- It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
- Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
- When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
- Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
- It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
- Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
- Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
- Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
- Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
- It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
- When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
- Over prepare, then go with the flow.
- Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
- The most important sex organ is the brain.
- No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
- Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
- Always choose life.
- Forgive everyone everything.
- What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
- However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- Believe in miracles.
- God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
- Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
- Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
- Your children get only one childhood.
- All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
- Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
- If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
- Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
- The best is yet to come…
- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
- Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. – Ecclesiastes 8:8
When it comes to the length of your life, what do you consider long enough?
On March 9, 1996 comedian and actor George Burns passed away at the age of 100. He was still performing live comedy, until just a few years before his death. At his 98th birthday celebration, he addressed his guest in true “George Burns style”, saying “It’s nice to be here . . . at 98, it’s nice to be anywhere.”
At 98 years-old, George Burns considered every day a gift and he was right! Whether you’re twenty-two years old or ninety-two, life is precious and should never be taken for granted. None of us are born with a guaranteed number of days on this earth. We have no promise that we will be here tomorrow and should realize that each moment is priceless. In acknowledging each day as an irreplaceable gift, we will be more likely to make the most of the time that we are given.
Start each morning by thanking the Lord for the day He has given you. Then spend that day, as if you meant what you said. Remember that every moment is a gift.
When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick. – George Burns
As I write this from not-so-sunny S. California (57 degrees and overcast), I am still appreciative of the time away with family and catching up with friends who have moved West. I also am appreciative of our United Methodist connectional life that we can have Rev. Gayle Watson, friend AND former pastor at Locks and Kedron fill in for both Word and Sacrament. Preaching and Communion!
The scripture will sound familiar perhaps from last Sunday but it should be interesting to hear another’s words on these texts. God’s love expounded upon and our living it out can hardly grow old!
And our hymns and songs on the love of God and neighbor available in our hymnals are bountiful! I am eager to hear the worship as captured on CD when I return!
And the forecast for sunshine out West is picking up! Hope the same in both congregations!
God bless~~~see you soon!