Holiness is Hard Work

Holiness is Hard Work

Published February 22, 2023

1st Sunday in Lent
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that on Sunday we concluded our annual Global Impact Celebration. I never grow tired watching the people of God called Matthews United Methodist streaming forward to make Faith and Life commitments. The morning (9:30 and 11:00) was filled with toe-tappin music – watch the video here of the African melody of the O Sifuni Mungu that was so fun and inspiring. And how about those solos from John Woodall, John Biggers and Shannon Remley. They just blew me away. And listening to our Flute Choir (8:15 and 11:00) is always a treat as well as Ally Snider singing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (9:30). What a morning! You can watch and worship here.

We also saw ten new households (17 adults and 3 children) join our transforming community on Sunday:  Jennifer Nicks, Hunter/Kristen Lunsford (Hunter, James, Townes), Steve/Susan Higgins, Kim/Jimmy Bradley, Joe/Marilyn George, Dawn Salley, Jean/Jim Moubray, Beverly Fifer, Judy/Travis Silberquit, and Larry/Ruth Wood.  Be sure to be on the lookout for these wonderful new additions to our community.

And Lent Begins

I love the way Dr. Kate Bowler, a Duke Divinity School professor at Duke describes Lent. She says, “Lent – which begins on February 22 – marks the forty days leading up to Easter. During Lent, we ask God to show us the world as it really is. It is a chance for the whole church to be on the losing team. A time to tell the truth: Life is so beautiful, and life is so hard. For everyone. Easter is coming, yes. But for now, we sit in the ashes of our own broken dreams and broken hearts, knowing that God sits here with us too.”

I hope you can join us tonight for our Ash Wednesday Service in the Sanctuary at 7 pm. It will include beautiful music, moving prayers, the reading of Holy Scripture, and the ancient tradition of the Imposition of Ashes. This is a meaningful, reflective, solemn service of worship to begin the Lenten season.

I’ve taken a deeper dive around the purpose and meaning of Lent by putting together some thoughts on Exploring the Lenten Season at Matthews United Methodist. You can read by clicking here.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled, Holiness is Hard Work.

Lenten Study on The Lord’s Prayer

I hope you’ll find some way to participate in our all-church (Children, Youth, Adults) Lenten Study on The Lord’s Prayer. If you will, make sure you purchase a copy of the book, The Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power of the Prayer Jesus Taught by Adam Hamilton. Adam Hamilton says, “No other prayer is more important to Christians than this prayer – the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. There are a host of other prayers we overhear Jesus praying in the Gospels. But only with this prayer does Jesus say, ‘Pray like this.’” We’ll also use the prayer as our preaching focus during Lent beginning on Sunday, February 26. Register here to be a part of our Wednesday in-person group (led by me in conjunction with our Kids Wild Wednesday groups & optional dinner) OR Tuesday online group (led by Connor Johnson). Our In-Person group will meet each Wednesday in March with meals beginning at 5:45 pm in The Commons and the study starting at 6:30 pm. Register kids for their own version of the study with our Wild Wednesday groups for Preschool – 6th Grade or sign up for Nursery.

15th Forum on Racial Bridge-Building

Join us on Tuesday, February 28, 7 pm, at Matthews Presbyterian Church, for our 15th Forum on Racial Bridge-Building. What began as a tool for growth and healing from the 2016 Charlotte Protest and Riot has continued to be a source of hope and encouragement around racial justice. We are delighted to have Charlottean, Katherine B. Martin, to join us this year. She is the author of the book, The Colorful Image of God, and she has a very important story to tell. Watch this video as she invites us to Tuesday night.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join this Sunday at 8:15 am (traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary; in person or online here), 11:00 am (traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan concludes the series, Careful Choices. He will be preaching from I Samuel 19:1-7 and his sermon is titled: Good Friends Always Support.

In our morning Sanctuary services, we will begin our study on The Lord’s Prayer. My sermon is from Matthew 6:5-12 and is titled: When You Pray, Pray Like This.

This week, I’m hoping to see you before Sunday, perhaps on Ash Wednesday. If you will, invite someone to worship and to experience a Lenten Season full of opportunities and hope. There are many who would love to hear the Good News given to us in the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, The Lord’s Prayer.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Lenten mercies,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Global Impact Faith and Life Commitment Cards were collected this past Sunday, February 19? Please turn in your cards to fund work we do Beyond the Walls of the Church. Extras are available at the Welcome Center, or you can make your pledge online here.

Did you know that hunger knows no season? Common Heart, a new Global Impact partner, has food pantries across Union County. Join our MUMC team on Sunday, March 5 for the Common Heart Hunger Walk. Register online at matthewsumc.CommonHeartHungerWalk.org, add “MUMC” as your team name. Bring your friends and family and raise money for food pantries across the county!

Did you know that Feast with Friends, one of our Global Impact partners, serves lunch on Thursdays from 11:30-1:30 in the Commons? Come join us and bring your friends!