10th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/August 14, 2019
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say what a splendid day it was with Rev. Nicole Jones this past Sunday. I was able to watch on live stream, and I thought to myself, “What a bright, bright light!” Her words on creating space and cultivating silence were important for all of us. She challenged us by saying, “The fruitful/faithful life begins with creating space.” You can watch her sermon here. Nicole is one in a long line of outstanding women and men who have “Answered the Call” right out of the life and ministry of Matthews United Methodist. Rev. Jones is now making God’s love real to so many in and through the Morningstar United Methodist Church in Canton, NC.
By the way, have I told you how excited I am to see you on Sunday? I have much to tell you about our 17-day adventure to Zanzibar. Moreover, I’m thrilled for us to host Summer Brooke and The Mountain Faith Band all day this Sunday, August 18. Since I left the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina in 2016 to become one of your pastors, I’ve wanted to introduce you to some wondrous, lilting mountain traditional music. So here it comes! Hear the band on the link below or click to event details, including the 5:30 pm concert on our website here.
This unique concert, ice cream social and participation in worship is all made possible by a special gift from one of the generous families of our church. They wanted to do something unique and special to build community at Matthews United Methodist. This supportive family is making possible our “Blues” Sunday, as well as our time with Dr. David Wilkinson a few weeks ago. No money from our 2019 church budget was used for these events.
Rosa Wilson and Rosa Parks
Karen and I were overjoyed to make our recent trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa in order to help in caring for our little granddaughter, Rosa, while our daughter-in-law Gina and our son Ryan were active working with the nurse midwives on the Island. We enjoyed many holy moments with Rosa.
One of the holiest, at least for me, was reading the story of Rosa Parks to our Rosa. I’m not sure I’ve told you, but our Rosa was named in honor of Rosa Parks, the great African-American civil rights leader. Maybe it would be good to hear the story again.
On December 1, 1955, a seamstress named Rosa Parks was arrested for sitting toward the front of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Buses in Montgomery at that time were divined into the white section and the black section. And there was a section in the middle where black persons could sit, but not if there were too many whites. Rosa Parks refused to leave, and so she was arrested. There was a prolonged discussion between her and the leaders of the African-American community in Montgomery. The result of much discussion and much prayer was that they would say “no” to the whites.
So, a woman from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church got together with a group of her friends and mailed out thousands of letters stating: “We will boycott.” They said, “If you work, take a cab or share a ride or walk. But no more buses.” So on Monday morning, people got up early and all the buses rolled out…and remained empty.
People met that night after they got home from work at Holt Street Baptist Church — somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 African-Americans. The chairman of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a 26 year old preacher by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “There comes a time when people are tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression. We are determined to live in Montgomery and work and fight until justice rolls down like water, righteousness like mighty streams! We are not wrong! If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer and never came down to earth.”
The logistics of this boycott were staggering. There were 18 African American-owned taxi companies in Montgomery. They tried to offer rides to people to and from work at 10 cents a ride. The Montgomery Police Commissioner said that any driver who did not charge at least 45 cents a ride would be arrested. 30,000 to 40,000 rides a day were needed, and they had a car pool restricted to 300 cars. So people walked. Sometimes 2 hours to work and 2 hours back. But at night they would meet together in churches and pray.
Finally, one night Martin Luther King, after having been arrested, was alone in his kitchen…exhausted and afraid. His face in his hands, he said, “I’ve come to a place where I can’t do it alone.” And then he said that he heard an inner voice say that he must do what is right. He was convinced it was the same voice that said a long time ago, “I’ve seen the suffering of my people … so I have come down.” (Exodus 3:7-8)
The next Monday night, Dr. King spoke at a rally. When he had finished, a woman named Mother Pollard came to the front. That was a common practice … an elderly person who had won the respect of everybody would come and comment on what had been said.
Mother Pollard came to the front of the church and said to Martin Luther King, Jr., “What’s the matter, son? Something’s wrong. You didn’t talk strong tonight.” He said, “No, Mother Pollard, I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong.” She said, “Now you don’t fool me. I know something’s wrong. Is it that we’re doing things that don’t please you, or that the white folks are bothering you?” And then she got right in his face and she said as loud as she could, “I’ve told you we’re with you all the way. But even if we’re not with you, God is going to take care of you.” Then she inched her way back to her seat. The crowd exploded, and King stood there with tears in his eyes.
On Tuesday, November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.
You can’t imagine how thrilled I am that Ryan and Gina Wilson named their daughter — my granddaughter — after this remarkable woman of faith and history.
I hope you’ll put an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming events:
- 8th Community Forum on Racial Bridge-Building on Tuesday, August 20, 7 pm – We will discuss racial bridge-building at the first debate for the candidates running for Matthews Town Council and Mayor for the 2019 election hosted at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church.
- 4th Annual Hug-A-Cop Event on Saturday, August 24 at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 4 pm to 8 pm – This day is so important. I hope you will stop by and join our friends at Mt. Moriah and Matthews Presbyterian in this community-building event.
- A Church-Wide Worship Series beginning August 25 – 801South, CCH and our morning Sanctuary worship communities will all be learning this fall from Galatians 5. We are calling our series, The Spirited Life. The good news is … we have been given a guide for The Spirited Life. In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Galatia, he gives us a list of qualities called “the fruit of the Holy Spirit.” This list forms the best description anywhere of the character that God wants to produce in you and me. Why? Because with these things at work in our lives they will produce nothing less than a transformed follower of Jesus.
- Greenway Park Volunteer Kickoff on August 28 in the Commons from 7 to 8:30 pm – Would you like to make a meaningful difference in the life of a child? Come learn about new opportunities to volunteer at Greenway Park Elementary, including exciting changes in the volunteer reading program, Tutor Charlotte reading with kindergarten students, Heart Math, and becoming a Lunch Buddy.
This Sunday (August 18) in Worship
You won’t want to miss this coming Sunday with a day full of worship, mountain traditional music and some good ice cream. This Sunday, in our CCH community, Pastor Roldan will conclude the series, Beating the Average Enemy. He will preach from Joshua 24:11-15, and his sermon is titled Do Not Serve as an Average. 801South and Pastor Corey will conclude the message series Hope in the Dark. We will wrap up the book of Habakkuk as we discover more about wrestling, waiting, and embracing in our relationship with God. In the morning Sanctuary services I will join Summer Brooke and The Mountain Faith Band with a sermon titled Hope in a House of Blues from Romans 8.
Just a reminder … that at Matthews United Methodist we welcome all people as they are. Period. No one belongs here more than you. We are not just a church for people who feel like they are “church people.” MUMC is a church for people who have been part of a church their entire lives…and people who’ve never stepped foot inside a church building. We invite people who know a lot about God…and people who have a lot of questions about God. We welcome with open arms people who have stepped away from church, people who are hoping for something new in a church, and people who are thinking about coming back to church.
Thank you for the incredible privilege that is mine to be one of your pastors. Moreover, thank you for the trust you place in me to keep telling the story of God’s love made real in the person of Jesus. What an honor!
Looking for hope in a House of Blues,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Second Half Strategies and LPL Financial conducted a stuffed animal drive and gave hundreds of the animals to Global Impact Partners! We were able to support Bethlehem Center, Turning Point, Promise Pajamas, COS Kids, and Blessed Assurance.
Did you know that Bree Bynum was prayed for and commissioned in worship before she heads to Czech Republic for a year? Bree will be working in high schools and universities through Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ.