The Tension Between the Already & the Not Yet

The Tension Between the Already & the Not Yet

Published December 15, 2020

4th Sunday of Advent | December 16, 2020

Just these lines, my friends …

… to say say that this past Sunday we had some laughter from Perelandra in worship. If you were not able to be with us, you can watch here. Please be sure to check out the magnificent music piece by members of the Worship and Arts Ministry in the traditional hour.

Have you driven by the church in the last few days? The parking lots are having some repair work and the new Memorial Garden is beginning to take shape. Because you give, we are able to make these important site updates and additions.

I hope you’ll be able to make the journey to Bethlehem this coming Sunday, December 20. Our second Drive-Thru Bethlehem of the season is scheduled for 5 pm to 7 pm. Click here to see a beautiful short film by Jeff Powell of our December 5th Drive-Thru Bethlehem.

Christmas Eve is almost here. I know you will tune in at some point during the day for these beautiful experiences of worship. We think about Christmas Eve all year long. This year has been no different. Make sure you have your communion elements and candles ready. While the night won’t be the same as years past, I am expecting a Christmas Eve worship opportunity that fills us all with joy and wonder. I hope you’ll plan to watch with expectant hearts and a gracious spirit…learn about each service here and join online here.

Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy some remarkable music of the season performed by a group from our Sanctuary Choir. Since we couldn’t have a Christmas Concert this year, you’ll want to tune in to some beautiful Christmas music sung by our very own carolers in Dickens dress. You can watch and listen here.

As we anticipate the birth of Jesus together, may we experience the stubborn hope of Christmas, joy in the midst of the peril of pandemic, a love that knows no bounds, and a transcendent peace amid a world on fire.

I love being one of your pastors.

My Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll watch my devotional today, The Tension Between the Already and the Not Yet. Just click on the arrow below.

Giving in this Season

Ever since I was a little tike, I’ve loved Christmas, and although run-amuck consumerism has sullied the goodness, I’m still unabashed in my love of giving gifts. My senior year in high school, I worked cutting grass, filling candy machines, putting inserts in newspapers, and doing various odd jobs — spending barely a penny and socking away a good amount of money. Then I bought some of what I thought were the most extravagant gifts I could find for my family: a bottle of elegant perfume for my mother, a new saw my father was craving, a new coat and a box (144) of Heath bars for my girlfriend, and a pile of smaller gifts and grand stocking stuffers. On December 26th, I didn’t have a dime to my name, but I was all smiles.

One of the reasons I love giving gifts, I think, is that it’s a tangible way of expressing love. No one need give extravagant store-bought gifts to demonstrate love (and in fact, in our culture these things can get seriously out of whack), but we need to act on our love. In addition to being something we say, love is something we do.

Giving to your church is one way we demonstrate and enact our love. Though the amounts we are able to give may vary widely (and if unable to give money, then we give time and prayers and energy and service), the point is to offer our heart to God & to our community, and say: I believe in what we are doing here at Matthews United Methodist, and I’m going to join in providing for our life together and for our mission in the world. 

So, if you have not enacted your love as you hoped to this year, would you participate with us now? And would you consider being a regular, automated giver as we move into the New Year? And if you have an added gift to make for the end of year, would you do that?

We entered December roughly $150,000.00 behind on our budget, and we need help making this up. You’ll find all the options for giving here including our quick, easy online portal.  Thank you for prayerfully … and lovingly … considering what you might be able to do.

This Sunday (December 20) in Worship

Will you join us for Advent online worship this Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish-speaking).
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm and continue the Advent worship series, The Most Anticipated Return. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from I Thessalonians 5:16-21 with his message, Take Care of Your Attitude.

In our morning services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am on this 3rd Sunday of Advent we will continue our Advent worship series, The Many Moods of Christmas. This week Dr. Seuss is going to help us see that Christmas is an instance for which we have no category. My sermon is titled Christmas Ambiguity. You can prepare by reading Luke 1:26-38. In addition, we will find a way to share our annual Children’s Nativity with you. I hope you’ll plan to be with us on Sunday.

And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that our Home2Home Ministry continues to provide furnishings for those in need? On December 5, a 20-foot truck was packed to the brim with furniture and taken to Bertie County, NC to furnish an entire house for an elderly woman’s rental home. On December 12, 13 persons from St. Matthews Catholic and Matthews United Methodist (love the community feel) loaded up a 15-foot box truck along with 5 pickup trucks and delivered over 45 items of furniture and household items to 4 families. Along with these deliveries they made pickups from families who donated over 42 items for our storage units. We now have enough to make another trip to Eastern North Carolina to help those in the Lumberton or Windsor area!  If you would like to participate in this unique ministry, please contact Pastor Brad Hopper, Minister of Missions, at 704-815-1985.

Did you know that our bishop, Paul Leeland, filmed a special Christmas message in our Sanctuary on Tuesday morning, December 15? It will be shown to United Methodists across Western North Carolina on Sunday, December 27.

Did you know that Craig Smith, son of MUMC member Angela Smith, is donating over 7,700 surgical disposable face masks to Global Impact ministry partners? Global Impact will be distributing these masks to Roof Above, COSKids, Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity, Hoskins Park Ministry, Blessed Assurance and others. We thank Craig and Angela for this generous gift to keep helps our neighbors stay safe.

Did you know that Global Impact funded the purchase of over 600 books for Greenway Park students so that one book will be sent home with each student in Pre-K through grade 5? The books will be distributed at the beginning of January to go along with the school’s “New Year, New Book” theme.

Did you know that Jenny Savage (a long-time member of MUMC) is discerning her call to become a licensed local pastor in The United Methodist Church? She has completed most of the requirements designated by the Metro District. Her next steps involve meeting with our Staff Parish Relations Committee, a Charge Conference, and then interviews with the Metro District Committee for Licensed and Ordained Clergy. Let’s hold Jenny so close in our prayers as she makes this journey toward service in The United Methodist Church as a licensed local pastor.

Last week we shared the news of Sue Sproat being awarded the Nancy Glenn Award. We wanted to share this article from the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly, as well. What a well-deserved honor!