1st Sunday after the Epiphany Just these lines, my friends …
… to say thank you for all the many notes and cards and gifts during the Christmas season. Your love and support is beyond compare and so deeply appreciated by the entire Wilson family. Speaking of the Wilson family, we spent a lot of time with our children and grandchildren during the Days of Christmas. Beginning December 22 through January 2 there just seemed to be bodies everywhere in our house. We had a few nights with 14 under our roof. I loved every moment of it … but by Sunday afternoon, January 2, we were exhausted.
I hope you’ll listen to the powerful music of our Sanctuary Choir and Pastor Paul’s outstanding message from this past Sunday (January 2). You will want to listen to Paul share “about the unexploded bombs of human lives.” I hope you’ll watch his striking message here.
As we enter 2022, we still find ourselves living under the cloud of a global pandemic. During the past year, I have my Bible marked with all the stories of journeying through the Wilderness: the Exodus, the Exile, the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, and even the travels of the Apostle Paul. We have traveled through a lot during these last 22 months. Our outdoor gatherings have reminded us that the Tabernacle can be portable. When people argue over masks or vaccines, Exodus tells us how Moses and God grew weary of the grumbling. As we mourn lost friends and lost opportunities, we remember the Holy Family’s grief when fleeing to Egypt. As Covid continues to keep many of us from worshipping in our sanctuary, consider how the Babylonian exile changed and revived faith. As many of us gathered outdoors during the last few weeks for Christmas movies, live nativities, and worship, let us remember how the Apostle Paul and Lydia launched a church movement outdoors.
As we begin 2022, we hold onto hope brought by being together but are still journeying together through unknown space. Knowing that God journeyed with our spiritual ancestors through many hard wildernesses reminds us that somehow, we will emerge from this hard season and be alright. We mourn our losses, yes, but we pause and remember that we have overcome many obstacles. The pandemic is teaching us new understandings of who, what, where, and how we are the church. The promise of God through Isaiah is “Behold, the things announced in the past – look – they’ve already happened, but I’m declaring new things. Before they even appear, I will tell you about them. So let us sing to the Lord a new song!” Let us remember what we have overcome while we resolve to open our hearts to new rhythms, new innovations, and new insights.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, “Worship is What We Do.”
Matthews UMC 2021 Financial Update
Generosity bridges the gap between being a church in the community and a church for the community … and your generosity has been extraordinary. It will take us some days to finalize our numbers for 2021, so thank you in advance for your patience. Meanwhile, the work of the church awaits us for 2022.
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 John 1:9-13 and his sermon title, A Perfect Plan Called Grace.
In our morning Sanctuary services, we will commission Pastor Brad for mission service with the South America Mission and we’ll hear from him one final time. Pastor Brad’s sermon is titled Fixed Eyes. You can read Matthew 14: 22-33 in preparation. Pastor Brad shared with me about his sermon, “I will spend some time reflecting on the time that I have had at MUMC and then will focus on the text. I will emphasize the central need to focus on Jesus at all times as we step into the future following God’s call upon us as individuals, families and as a church.” As you can see, he is preparing a special message for us.
At 12:30 on Sunday, we’ll celebrate Pastor Brad and his family (Jennie, Aidan, Grace) with a reception in The Commons. Please feel free to write a note of gratitude to Brad (bring or mail to the Church Office) and/or contribute to a love gift for him. The gift can go directly with Brad (non-taxable for him) or mail a check with “Love Gift – Pastor Brad Gift” marked in the memo line or click here to make your gift online (taxable for Brad). Thank you for joining us in honoring this deeply devoted pastor and family for their service among us with gratitude from the deepest places of our heart.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know our Home2Home Ministry loaded 47 pieces of furniture onto a truck owned by our Roman Catholic friends from St. Matthews and will now travel to Eastern North Carolina for the homes of three families?