7th Sunday of Easter | Memorial Day Weekend
Just these lines, my friends …
… that in 2019 I made a trip to Texas to honor a dear deceased pastor friend of mine. I had lunch in Uvalde. It is a lovely community sitting right on the edge of the Texas Hill Country and I had been there before during my Texas days. The live oaks twist toward the sun and a sign in front of First United Methodist church reads, “Bienvenidos Amigos! Come as you are; you’ll be loved.”
Yesterday, though, news of another horrific school shooting has reached us from this lovely, idyllic Texas community of Uvalde.
Last night, I held my grandchildren tight wondering if tragedy like this could ever reach them. I cannot bear looking at the pictures that are emerging. As a pastor, standing in the presence of other people’s grief is part of my calling. I know what heartache sounds like. I imagine that you do, too. But think about it. Last night and today, the heavens echo with the bellows of tormented parents who only yesterday morning were making plans for the last day of school before summer.
I must confess that I dread the days ahead. Perhaps you, like me, have had your fill of “thoughts and prayers.” Vague expressions of concern by scores of Americans have done absolutely nothing to stop these evil acts. When it comes to mass shootings, we Americans are trapped in what seems to be a never ending cycle of finger-pointing, political stammering, and virtue posting, soon followed by faltering resolve.
The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks exhorted us: “Love your neighbor. Love the stranger. Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard. Liberate the poor from their poverty. Care for the dignity of all. Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less. Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind. Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against … And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity, whatever our color or culture, class or creed.”
In these days of mourning, let us renew this covenant on our knees, in our hearts, and with our lives. By the way, today is the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Christ have mercy.
This past Sunday, we shared in the beautiful baptism of Graham Martin, son of Damien & Heather Martin and grandson of Nelson & Sandy List. In addition, we premiered a GodStory featuring the tender, vulnerable, powerful, honest, and real witness of Becky Yates. Please click here to watch.
The month of May is Mental Health Month. The GodStory above went right along with our focus on mental illness and how its tentacles reach so deeply in our community … in our families. Based upon my email inbox, this past Sunday hit quite a nerve. Many of our very own suffer from mental health struggles. As I said in my sermon, “Depression and anxiety is just a fact of life. It’s not a weakness. It’s not a lack of faith. It’s not a sign of punishment from God. It is a fact of life.” Please reach out if we can be there for you and yours. The people around us are far more fragile than you might imagine.
We need each other. In fact, we are better together. I know I am better with you.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, “A Prayer for Memorial Day Weekend.”
May I Introduce You to Alan Greer
Alan and Amanda Greer have been a part of our church for several years. They are beautiful people of faith and we are most fortunate to have them as a part of our transforming community. Click here and read the humble request they are making. Might there be someone in our midst that feels the nudging in their heart to answer this calling?
Our Path Forward: The Future of The United Methodist Church
I hope you’ll take the time to read a statement we’ve prepared for MUMC. We (Carol Hatcher – Lay Leader, Jon Pollack – Servant Leader for the Administrative Council) wrote the letter to provide clear information on some of the widespread misinformation about the current issues in The United Methodist Church (UMC). You can read the note by clicking here.
Please don’t forget Rev. Amy Coles is coming to be with us on Sunday, June 5, at 9:30 am and 10:45 am in The Commons. Rev. Coles is Special Assistant to Bishop Ken Carter of the Western North Carolina Conference of The UMC. We will welcome her insights into our ongoing denominational struggles.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Matthew 7:7-12 and his sermon title, Take Care of Your Motivation.
In our morning Sanctuary services, we are going to begin our Memorial Day Weekend worship by hearing an extraordinary violin duet of a mother/daughter from Ukraine. It will be a beautiful beginning to our time together. My sermon is titled Playing the Most Difficult Instrument from Philippians 2:1-11 and Romans 12:3-8.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are better together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that the Town of Matthews Appearance and Tree Advisory Committee held a drive-thru plant sale on Saturday, May 14 in the MUMC parking lot? 230 milkweed plants were sold to help our local Monarch butterfly population.
Did you know that we have a New Heating and Air Conditioning System installed in the Eagles Nest? Thank you, Matthews-based Facility Systems Services for your help!
Did you know that the combined music and arts programs of Queen’s Grant High School held their end-of-year celebration in the Sanctuary of our church on Tuesday, May 24? The evening was conducted by our very own Chad Turner.
Did you know that hundreds of frisbee/fans and other MUMC swag items with invites to church were handed out to MARA players and families during the end-of-season games last Saturday? Thank you to Pastor Jenny for sharing conversations with numerous families while handing out these items provided by our Faithful Next Steps funding for community building in an effort to extend God’s love to all! If you would like to serve at MARA events in the fall, please contact Pastor Jenny. It is a fun way to serve!
Did you know that The Males Place, one of our new Global Impact Ministry Partners, was featured in The Charlotte Observer? Read here about how The Males Place provides young men “a guided journey into manhood.”
Did you know that Greater Matthews Habitat, a Global Impact partner, dedicated a home for Natalie and Isaiah and their 5 children on May 22? Home2Home Ministry, another Global Impact partner, provided the furniture for this new home. Your Global Impact donations helped build and furnish the home for Natalie and Isaiah.