16th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/September 16, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that what a weekend! I loved coming to the United Kids Block Party on Friday night and seeing all the young families participating with their kids. It was safe, distanced and so filled with joy.
By the way, did you see Alix Arndt talking in morning worship from this past Sunday about our United Kids ministry staff and their delivery of First Grade Bibles to the homes of our children? Listen to this note from Sara Long (mother of 1st grader, Caroline): “I want to thank you and the whole MUMC children’s team for the First Grade Bible that was brought to our house for Caroline last night. It really marked for us how Caroline is growing and ready to dive more deeply into God’s word. I teared up as I read the letter to her that you all brought with the Bible. That someone would take the time to come to our house and deliver this was so meaningful to our family. I can’t wait to start exploring this version of the Bible with Caroline! Please know how grateful we are to you all.”
Speaking of Sunday morning worship, this past Sunday we kicked off our My 95 worship series. You can see the contemporary and traditional worship services in their entirety here. You’ll also be able to see the short video of my interview with Leaton Harris.
By the way, I drove to Durham on Sunday to see my newborn granddaughter, Lua Truth Wilson (they will call her Lua), born to Ryan/Gina Wilson on September 12th. “Lua” comes from friends in Africa and “Truth” from the great abolitionist/women’s rights activist/devoted Christian, Sojourner Truth. Those crazy kids of ours continue the racial justice/abolitionist/activist theme. You may remember that their first child, Rosa, was named for the great civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.
It’s Off to Work I Go
I’m sure you remember that classic scene in Disney’s Snow White, where the seven dwarfs sling their pickaxes over their shoulders and with joy in their step march off to the mines, singing “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go!” You’ve undoubtedly seen the bumper sticker that says, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” So which is it for you? What propels you out of the bed in the morning? Is it “Heigh ho?“ or is it “I owe”?
Is work a blessing or a curse?
Nowhere is this question asked more powerfully than in the movie Chariots of Fire. The movie contrasts two young men in the same line of work: they’re both athletes, they’re both runners, they’re both trying to achieve a gold medal for the British empire in the 1924 Olympics. They’re working out together, they’re running together, they’re competing together – and they are as different as night and day.
At one point one of them, Eric Liddell, has a powerful conversation with his sister, Jennie. She’s upset because she thinks Eric is way too obsessed with sports and is losing focus on his true purpose — preparing for the mission field — as he’s going to China. Eric takes her hands and says, “Jennie, Jennie, you’ve got to understand. I know God made me for China. But he also made me fast. I feel God’s pleasure when I run.”
In stark contrast is the other man — Harold Abrahams. At one point, he’s getting a rubdown from his coach and Abrahams says, “I’m 24, and I’ve never known contentment. I’m forever in pursuit, and I don’t even know what it is I’m chasing.”
It turns out that in the end, both men achieve their goal. Both of them win gold. Yet the whole time one is filled with joy and the other is plagued by doubts and emptiness.
Today we see two people in adjacent offices. They work in the same company, have the same career, do the same things, make the same money. One is saying, “I was made for this. Going to work for me is like saying ‘sic em’ to a bulldog. I love what I do.”
One of the things I love about being a grandfather is when I show up in a room, and my granddaughter, Lola, looks up and sees me. It’s like she smiles with her whole body. When you love your job, you’re smiling with your whole body. You feel God’s pleasure when you work.
Prayer: Gracious God, take our minds; take our hearts; take our hands and all that we use through the week to serve you. O God, we rejoice because you are Lord of all of life – not just Sunday morning, but also Monday through Friday, and we offer all that we are to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Re-Opening Update from Pastors Paul & Chuck
Pastor Paul & I share about the phased-in re-opening approach and upcoming on-campus activities at MUMC in the video below (click the image to watch). I think it will give you some insights on how we are navigating these days with regard to in-person worship.
Also, please check out the latest Covid restrictions and guidelines before heading to campus at www.MatthewsUMC.org/Updates.
Some Really Good News
Our Memorial Garden Committee is excited to announce that $101,875 has been received for the Memorial Garden and Columbarium at our church! This exceeds the $100,000 goal necessary to start construction of the Memorial Garden behind the Sanctuary. Additional funds are expected, but efforts now will be directed towards construction for the garden space, which will be a combination of a brick wall, a decorative fence, a fountain, single and double burial niches, and an abundance of flowers, shrubs and small trees. This new addition to our church campus is the result of 3 years of effort by a small group under the oversight of our Board of Trustees and Administrative Council.
I want to share with you that Jeanette Winslow is assuming an interim role as our Congregational Care Associate to assist in much-needed ways with Stephen Ministry and connecting with members who need encouragement by making calls and/or “porch/driveway” visits. Jeanette will begin serving on a new task force called the Children’s Program Study Group led by Lee Goldstein to research and identify what next steps may look like for our Preschool and After School programs. Lastly, she will be offering small group studies relative to coping needs during the COVID pandemic, which will offer general pastoral and fellowship care. We are so happy to have Jeanette working with our pastors in this new role!
Dahlia Grove’s contract with the church to replace our kitchen staff has ended during the public closing for worship. We wish Gayle Smith and her team all the best as the organization continues to rescue individuals from human trafficking and help them to regain independence.
Click here for a listing of our staff & contact info. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to them at any time.
This Sunday (September 20) in Worship
This week in our CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Mark 5:35-36, and his message is “Keep Trusting in Jesus.” This begins a new worship series, Intentional Trust vs. Occasional Trust.
In our morning worship services, I’ll be continuing our series My 95. My sermon is titled, “My 95 – My Places” from Genesis 28:10-22. You don’t have to go anywhere else to find God. God’s with you. God’s in your school. God’s already in your home. God’s already in your office. God’s already at your retirement community. God’s at truck stops and shopping malls and coffee shops and grocery stores. Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
I hope you’ll take the time to invite someone to worship virtually with us on Sunday.
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and very challenging days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Living intentionally in My 95,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Global Impact made donations to the following ministry partners from the Disaster and Crisis Relief/Recovery Fund?
- Blessed Assurance Adult Daycare, which currently serves Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus and York Counties. Their mission is to provide care for senior and disabled adults and disabled Veterans. During COVID-19, regulations have increased, impacting the costs for this care.
- COSKids Child Development Program to assist with remote learning expenses. COSKids supports families to improve childhood health, education and development, and ensure that all children are prepared to be successful in school and beyond.
Your generous gifts help these local ministries continue to provide services right here in our community.
Did you know that our United Kids sponsored a big, fun Block Party Friday night with close to 100 people participating? We will be having special family events monthly! Watch for the next one!
Did you know that our Confirmands are busy serving others and earning their service hours? Many thanks to: Maggie Crowgey, Shane Bell, Cameron Lyerly, and Bryan Cook who helped us prepare for the Family Block Party!
Did you know that Kyle Havican blew up and filled 120 water balloons for our Block Party, and Caroline Arndt and Abby Arndt stuffed 50+ goodie bags? Thank you!
Did you know that CCH celebrated Reunión de Mujeres for the women of the congregation to share in a social time together?