3rd Sunday of Easter
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say each Sunday, I am filled with gratitude for this church and this place. Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter felt particularly moving and Spirit-filled this year for me. On Palm Sunday 930 people attended in-person worship and our streaming platforms captured an additional 852 online views live and on demand. Then on Easter Sunday, 1,588 persons filled our worship spaces in-person added to our 1,282 online views to celebrate the Good News of the Risen Christ. I saw mothers running behind boys dressed in bowties, grandparents beaming down at their grandchildren sharing the pew with them, and people squeezing in to make room for those without a seat. I paused and thanked God for such abundance in our space as we head into the coming weeks of the Easter season.
I love these 50 days of Easter. I love how the message of the resurrection empowers people to have hope in their darkest moments. As much as I love Christmas, I think Easter holds more weight for me every year. Death defeated. Hope. Life. Love.
Except that, when I wake up on Easter Monday (or from my nap on Easter Sunday), the day isn’t all that different. There is still violence and pain. There are still health challenges that steal family members far too soon. There is still a world in need of the healing love of Jesus. And honestly? That sometimes makes me feel a bit hopeless. We always say that we live in the “now and not yet,” of the resurrection. So many days it feels like the world yells, “Not yet! Not yet! Not yet!” Not yet for a new life, new hope, new love. But we can see the peeking out of the “now.” Of resurrection glory all around us. And that “not yet”? It can motivate us out of our helplessness as much as it can confine us to it.
This distance between what we experience now and the promise of what God has given us in the resurrection is where discipleship happens. Yes, Jesus has defeated death. But we still experience death. Our call as people walking in the Way of Jesus is to get up, live into the now, and be a part of the Kingdom work of ushering it in.
How might we do so? We think about reaching out to somebody. We think about not losing our cool. We think about being kind. We think about being generous. We think about not being snarky online. We think about sending that birthday card. We think about volunteering for that ministry. We think about calling that person. We think about responding when we hear a friend make a racist comment. We think about forgiving that person.
But at the end of the day, we know that it’s not the thought that counts. It’s not about what we think, it’s not about what we believe, it’s not about what we agree with intellectually that makes the biggest impact in our lives. We can’t rely on our thoughts to get through life. We must take action. We must DO.
Who do you need to call? Who do you need to invite? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to apologize to? What do you need to sign up for? What do you need to say “yes” to today?
If you missed worship at MUMC on the 2nd Sunday of Easter (April 16) & my sermon, The Benefit of the Doubt, you can worship here.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled: Joseph and the Will of God.
The Story of Alan & Amanda Greer
Alan and Amanda are a remarkable couple that has been a part of Matthews United Methodist for several years now. I’ve mentioned them in church before about Alan’s liver transplant in November of 2022 and his wife, Amanda being the donor. Queen City News ran a story on Alan and Amanda this past Thursday evening. You can view the story here.
Gatherings for You to Know About
We have a couple of opportunities for you to know about in the days ahead:
- All-Church Gathering on Monday, April 24, 7 pm – We will gather in The Commons (or you can view the livestream here) to catch up on the events and happenings of church life from the last few months. Click here for the details.
- Leadership Information Session on Tuesday, May 2, 7 pm, Room 94 and via Zoom – If you have any interest whatsoever in exploring what elected leadership looks like at MUMC, please make plans to attend. You’ll hear important information on how our church leadership works. Click here for more information.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us 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).
As Pastor Roldan and our Spanish-speaking CCH community gather, he will be preaching from James 2:19-23. His sermon is titled: Acting On His Word.
This Sunday, I will welcome two guests to our pulpit: Jenesis Burse from the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, our 2023 recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Scholarship; and Tonya Terry. Tonya is a vital part of our church Leadership Development Team and she wants to extend an invitation to you. In addition, we have a guest organist, Dr. Kevin Estes. Dr. Estes is an ICU physician here in Charlotte, but formerly the Choir Master and Organist at a Manhattan (New York City) congregation. We are delighted to have him with us as Kathy White enjoys some much-deserved time away.
My sermon on Sunday comes from an unusual post-resurrection scripture lesson (Acts 1:12-17, 21-26) about two obscure persons, that I’m fairly certain, you’ve never heard a sermon about – Barsabbas and Matthias. My sermon is titled: You Have Been Elected! If you will, consider bringing someone along with you. You never know who might be needing a little hope.
And now, as always, during these challenging, uncertain, and yet, exciting, promising and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Jesus is on the loose!
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that The Micah Connection donated clothing, PJs from Promise Pajamas, stuffed animals, toys, Walmart gift cards and CATS bus tokens to 50 newly arrived immigrant families? We partnered with the Latin American Coalition as they welcomed newcomers to Charlotte.
Did you know that Global Impact Teams have been serving on day trips to Lumberton? Click here for the May 20th day trip details or to sign up!
Did you know that WillBeans is serving coffee on Sundays from 9-11am in the Sanctuary Reception area? Get great coffee, support Rainbow Ministries and enjoy fellowship! $2 donation requested; Venmo is available!