4th Sunday after Pentecost/June 24, 2020
Just These Lines, My Friends…
… to say that the entire Wilson tribe (all 10 of us, plus my sister and her daughter) is gathering this week in Blowing Rock. Some of you may not have heard or even remember the story I told last year about our family going on a week-long (Saturday to Saturday) vacation to the beach last June. We all headed home by Tuesday. It was a disaster. So, if you see me before Monday, June 29, you’ll know things turned out much the same way they did last year. Actually, we learned a lot of lessons last year and we are trying our best not to duplicate them.
COVID Conversations is the brainchild of my dear friend, Luke Maybry, pastor of Matthews Presbyterian Church. We (5 area pastors) had our first one on Tuesday, June 16, and the theme was “Lessons We Are Learning From the Virus.” You can watch it here.
I do hope you were able to hear Pastor Paul’s wonderful Father’s Day sermon. You can watch the service here.
We also had a fabulous week with Vacation Bible School (VBS). Thank you so much to all our United Kids staff and volunteers who made it work virtually.
Amazing! Here’s some of the feedback we’ve been getting:
- “My kids have been LOVING VBS – They loved having their own bag and shirt. Are enjoying the activities and music.”
- “My preschooler woke up early Tuesday morning, carrying his clothes into my room (VBS shirt and shorts), saying it was time for Vacation Bible School.”
- “Thank you for all you are doing for the kids this week.”
- “Thank y’all so much for all you’ve done and are doing to make this virtual VBS so wonderful and Christ-focused.”
- “Thank you for putting this together.”
- “Loved the awesome job you all did putting together VBS for everyone.”
- “We are doing remote VBS from the beach – today was wonderful.”
- “She is loving it. Thanks so much for keeping this going.”
- “Thanks so much for everything you put together for us for VBS.”
- “What a fun week! Thank you!”
You can watch a short video of the week here.
The world has a pace. We call it busy-ness, activism, freneticism. And at the extreme we name it “hurry sickness.” We are all familiar with this, for we live in a world geared for it. And we know firsthand the debilitating effects of running faster and trying harder in the world’s feverish round of unceasing activities.
I went for years as a Christian without ever thinking that grace has a pace. No one ever taught me to think differently, and my personality made the speed at which I lived appear normal, even “spiritual.” I even had a Bible verse for it, “growing weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9) — and my misunderstanding of it enabled me to justify “exceeding the speed limit” in too many aspects of my life.
It took an encounter with a book with Dallas Willard to challenge me to change. It has taken ongoing commitment and effort to actually change, with a lot of reversions into “hurry sickness” along the way. But having seen another way to live through the book, the pace of grace has become both a life to experience and a call to reclaim when I fall back into the world’s pace.
Let me inject one important note here, for without it we can become cynical about the pace of grace — and maybe give up on it for the most part. The point is simply this: it is easier at some stages of life to live the pace of grace than it is at other times. It may be easier to live the pace of grace in retirement than when the responsibilities of life seemed to turn us every which way but loose. God knows this about us, and in such times the pace of grace may be more of a vision to keep than an actual practice to achieve. That’s why it is a pace of GRACE.
But even in the rush, rush, rush, we do not have to become victims of the soul-draining pace of the world. We can live in the pace of grace through the practice of the spiritual practices — means of grace that give our lives pattern and rhythm. Practices like solitude, silence and Sabbath are especially helpful.
The pace of grace is the combination of doing and being, working and resting. If we fall prey to a performance-oriented view of life — I am what I do — it will be difficult to see the pace of grace which essentially says, I do what I am, and puts the core of life in our personhood, not our productivity.
Friends, even when we cannot fully live into this pattern and rhythm, we keep the reality and experience of it alive in little acts of everyday living that grow in both our character and our conduct, lest in our freneticism we forget who we are.
Would You Write a Note?
I invite you again this week to consider writing a note. A few weeks ago, Global Impact organized a project sending over 500 handwritten notes of encouragement to a hospital in New York City.
Now we want to share the same love and encouragement with the staff and residents at Royal Park and Carrington Place right here in Matthews! A simple note can offer so much love to an exhausted caregiver or a lonely resident during these times of COVID-19. Click here for more information.
This Week (June 28) in Worship
We hope you’ll worship online with us on Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish-speaking).
This week in our CCH community, Pastor Roldan will continue his series, Living Under the Shadow of the Most High. His sermon title for this week is “Living Faith in Downtime” from Psalm 91:8-10.
In our morning services, Pastor Brad’s sermon will guide us in an overview of the Book of Ruth. His title is “Loyal Love,” with a focus on the wonderful Hebrew word “Chesed”. Pastor Brad will be encouraging all to consider those who have demonstrated this type of love to us, and challenging all to model that type of love to others.
And, as always, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are in this together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Dot Smith threw the “first pitch” at the American Legion’s Sunday night game? Shown here is Dot with her son, Greg, following the game at MARA Field.
Did you know we sent flowers to Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, June 28, in celebration of Pastors Larry and Chris Whitley for 23 years of service?
Did you know that the children in preschool, elementary, and preteen VBS have raised close to $1200 for the children in Kidron Valley in Uganda? And…they are still collecting money!
Did you know that Luke Andujar acted as our “Charlie Chicken” this week at VBS to keep the kids updated on our mission project for the Orphanage at Kidron Valley in Uganda? He did a great job!
Did you know that two of our Youth Praise Bands, directed by Dan Meyer, led the Preteens daily in worship and singing during our virtual VBS last week?
Did you know that your Global Impact dollars donated funds from the Disaster and Crisis Relief/Recovery Fund to Zoe Empowers? COVID-19 has impacted the children in our first-year Kenya group and our funding will help them with food. Our MUMC Zoe Empowers group supports 31 households, a total of 94 children. Our donation will help them re-start businesses (after having to use their original start up funds for food to survive shelter-in-place regulations) and provide for each household. Your donation is helping these 94 children know the love of God.