16th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that did you hear the extraordinary anthem (If God Be For Us) done by our Sanctuary Choir on Sunday? The anthem was commissioned to honor Rev. Sidney Tate, a long time United Methodist pastor in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Tate is the deceased father of Philip Tate, long-time member of Matthews United Methodist (MUMC) and our Sanctuary Choir. Also, please listen to the beautiful offertory (Million Little Miracles) from John Biggers and the Praise Team at the 9:30 service.
If you’ve not had a chance, listen to Pastor Paul’s outstanding sermon from Sunday.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my “Loving the People You Don’t Like” devotional for today.
ENGAGE: Fall Worship Series Begins on September 12
Ever feel that there is more to life than you are experiencing? There is! The New Testament calls it “eternal life.” Life that is fully alive with the presence of the Risen Christ.
The New Testament writers use two Greek words for “life.” The word “bios” describes ordinary, biological life. But John uses the word “zoe” to describe new life, resurrection life, eternal life, Christ-life present in and animating our “bios” life here and now. It is life that is alive with the love of God revealed in Jesus.
The word “life” appears 42 times in John’s gospel, 12 times in the epistle that bears his name. The gospel and epistle of John will form the biblical ground for us as we, beginning September 12 through November 21, ENGAGE in the practices that enable us to experience new life, resurrection life, abundant life as disciples of Jesus.
I’m hoping you won’t miss a single Sunday of ENGAGE … Engage in Life (9/12), Engaged by Grace (9/19), Engage in Growth (9/26), Engage in New Life (10/3), Engage Your Gifts (10/10), Engage in Invitation (10/17), Engage in God’s Plan (10/24), Engage in Giving (10/31), Engage in the Future (11/7), Engage by Commitment (11/14), Engage in Celebration (11/21).
“I write these things to you who believe
in the name of the Son of God, so that you
may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 5:13)
A Prayer for School
Kate Bowler is a Professor at Duke Divinity School. I love her writing and powerfully creative sense of our world. She wrote the following prayer/blessing for children and parents returning to school:
Oh God, this plague has already lasted so long and taken so much from kids and their teachers,
and now pandemic pressures are rising all over again.
Oh God help our kids and their teachers have a safe
and strong and beautiful year.
“… and He took the children in his arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.” – MARK 10:16
God, what a thought: that You could take our kids in Your arms and touch them, hold them, bless them.
Oh, how we long for that. We have seen our kids suffer too long, from the strangeness of growing up in a plague,
from worries that they can’t even articulate, from things they don’t even realize aren’t there.
God, our kids need a school experience that works, that feeds their growing minds,
and provides safety for body and soul.
Blessed are we, their parents, who crawl up into Your lap (for we are Your children too) and ask You God,
please come and bring this pandemic to an end.
And in the meantime, help us keep learning ourselves, and creatively support them, their schools,
and their teachers. that our kids might grow up beautifully, like You, full of grace and truth.
Take your kid in your arms. In this moment, love is enough. for both of you.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you this Sunday to join us in person at 8:15 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am, or online at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
The fun and frivolity of last weekend now gives way to the sobering reality of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. There is ancient Passover Seder question that asks “Why is this Sunday different than others?” Well, the answer is obvious today…it is the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
I imagine many of us have been reflecting on 9/11 this week in our own ways. Some are drawn to it; others are repelled by it. Some vow never to forget; others are trying to forget. But whichever category you fall in, 9/11 is very painful. In the 9/11 acts of violence, we saw humanity at its worst. But during the acts of rescue and recovery, we saw humanity at its best.
As with any tragedy though, healing comes slowly, and hope can be elusive. But for those of us who gather this Sunday (online or in person), our faith and worship will help to bring both healing and hope. By the way, we have invited representatives from our Matthews Police Department and Matthews Fire Department to be with us in our morning worship services so that we may honor them.
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Lamentations 3:22-25. His sermon is titled, A Guarantee That Never Expires.
At 8:15, 9:30 am and 11:00 am, we begin our new worship series, Engage. My sermon title is Engage in Life. You can prepare by reading I John 1:1-9.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, perilous, and hopeful days of pandemic 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 Nancy Ward was installed as President of the Metro District United Methodist Women Saturday, August 28, at the Metro District UMW 2021 Annual Celebration entitled “Faithfully Meeting Challenges”?
Did you know that the Parousia Sunday School Class recently served lunch to over 40 teachers and staff at COS Kids? Sue Sproat, Executive Director, leads an amazing team that shares love & joy to students & volunteers.
Did you know that Pat Bowes was honored with the 2021 Dan Ramirez Award from the Joe Martin ALS Foundation for outstanding service in helping families with ALS? The efforts of Pat and his family & friends to help those living with ALS is greatly appreciated. Way to go, Pat!