Serving and Believing

This weekend and this Monday we Americans will observe Memorial Day. We will remember and honor those in our Armed Forces who died in service to their fellow citizens.

Most of us will remember our family and friends who served and were always at risk of being “in harm’s way” for the sake of others.
So, I can’t help but remember my four uncles who served overseas during WW ll. One was wounded and bore his wounds for the rest of his life. They all four were loyal churchmen.

The United Methodist Church has always pointed to the Prince of Peace while recognizing the inevitable conflicts and necessities of living in a fallen world.

Our scriptures for Sunday worship highlight two soldiers of the occupying Roman army of first century Palestine. In fact, they are highlighted due to their faith in spite of their being initially seen as “invaders” and non-Jews. But, never are they criticized for their military role in society.

War and peace and Jesus. Jew and Gentile and Jesus. These stand before us even today as we honor so many of all faiths on Memorial Day. The church stands also to help all find their way to the Prince of Peace in a world of suffering and conflict.

†Pray unto the Lord†

Curiosity The Week After

Well, one week has gone by after ending last week’s sermon on an appeal to the Christian virtue of “curiosity” or the growth of the Christian by means of asking questions. Now this Sunday I take upon the task of giving a brief Summary of Christian Faith. No questions were asked for this Summary, but the timing seems right! This Sunday is Heritage Sunday followed by Aldersgate Day on Tuesday (remember when Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed?”). Then we have a week of Laity Fellowship at Blackman (Monday night) and Pancakes at Fellowship (Saturday night).

So why not have a Summary of our Faith this Sunday?! Those inclined toward Christian curiosity will be excited! A daunting task and I plan to make it brief and to the point! Something you can remember and turn around and repeat to others!
Wish me …….no, you can’t say “luck!” You actually can’t “wish” either! Instead you pray and you say, “God help him…and us also!” And then you “step out in faith” believing you will be helped!

You have a whole week to go “stepping!”

See you Sunday!
Pastor Barry

Start Strong, Finish Strong

Can you use one hand to count the number of congregations you have been a member of? Or participated in? I knew only one congregation until I was 18. Therein, was laid a foundation for me, I believe. Since 18, however, I would need 10 fingers and a few toes to count the number of congregations I have been a part of! And through 42 years of those I have NOT been a member of a congregation exactly, but rather a “clergy member” of an Annual Conference of United Methodists!

But…..back to you. How many have YOU participated in? Were you in one that was a new “mission church” or new church start?! Or were you active during a building campaign?
Were you “out” of church for a while and then “came back?”

Our spiritual journeys are as diverse as the languages spoken on the Day of Pentecost for the Church in the book of Acts chapter 2. The Spirit has been “poured out” v. 18 on you and the many and, thus, the Church still lives!

This Sunday we celebrate the birth of the Church and the very fact that “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together, all around the world, all who follow Jesus; yes, we are the church together.” Sing! Sing! Sing!

See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

To Love Is To Honor

So, Sunday is Mother’s Day in the USA. On the way there, you pass through National Day of Prayer (5th), Ascension of Our Lord (5th), Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of course!), Nurses Day (6th), and if you insist Star Wars Day known as May the Fourth Be With You!! (Believe it or not, there is a semi-religion of Followers of The Force!).

As I been known to say, there is “something” culturally, spiritually, or nationally celebrated every day of the year. This is a mixed blessing. We can give too much status to events or people such that the First Three Commandments may be slighted or ignored. So, when we Honor Our Parents on Mother’s Day we want to be sure “honor” is the right word. No “worship” of parents allowed. No human idols! And parents should keep that in mind as well!

The bottom line here is to ENJOY and give THANKS for Family, as diverse as it may be, recognizing those who gave us birth and nurture, those who were there for us whether they be our biological mother and father or rather those who “parented us,” loved us, and stood by us in times both bad and good!

Set the table for them on Mother’s Day, The Festival of Christian Family!

Better still…come with them to worship!

See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry