2nd Sunday in Lent
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say what a rich and meaningful First Sunday in Lent: spirits lifted, heart-felt prayers, great congregational singing, uplifting handbell music to begin worship, a lovely baptism for Ridge Curtis Mitchum (Mark, Amelia and Ruthie Mitchum), a Lenten Kyrie, a beautiful arrangement of The Lord’s Prayer by our children … and how about the new benediction for Lent from our Sanctuary Choir, May the Road Rise to Meet You. Our Praise Team, Children’s Choir, The Joyful Ringers, Sanctuary Choir, and our people that lead them week after week (Music & Worship Arts leaders) … they all do so much to prompt us in our worship of God. I am so thankful for each of them.
My sermon for Sunday was the first in our series on The Lord’s Prayer. I shared with you the tension that is in the opening phrase of the prayer. I said, “We have an intimate God we are close to and an infinite God we look up to, majestic and holy, high and lifted up. God is intimate but other. God is tender but transcendent. God is present with us, but never possessed by us. And, friends, even that is good news. For it means that to our infinite, holy and majestic God we can bring huge problems.” You can watch our worship service by clicking here.
We received an incredible note the other day. I wanted you to hear parts of it. This new friend to Matthews United Methodist writes, “Leaving the church in which I was baptized, confirmed and have worshipped all my life – has been a bittersweet decision for me. However, as … I have searched for a new church home …, I realized I felt God’s presence more clearly at MUMC than in other churches we explored. I sensed somehow that He was calling me to step outside of what was familiar, comfortable and easy for me, and to plant myself in this new community of faith.”
Our friend continues, “Over this past year, as … I first worshipped online, then in person, and then slowly began to step out in service at MUMC – I found myself challenged to examine and deepen my relationship with God in ways that were new, sometimes awkward or even painful, but always worthwhile … It feels wonderful to be able to call MUMC my church home …”
I know you, too, feel the presence of God week after week as we gather to reach, teach, praise and serve in our community of faith that we call Home.
This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), over 400 of us (in person & online) entered Lent through worship. We heard the words, “From dust you came, to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the Gospel.” Ashes were placed on our foreheads with the sign of the cross to remind us of our mortality. That is a good place to begin. To remember our mortality. We have one life to live and ought to live it well. As we begin these forty days of Lent, we have an opportunity to be changed and transformed more fully into the likeness of Jesus. We do this through reflection, prayer, worship, and service. How are you spending your 40 days?
May the peace and presence of the Lord be with you this Lenten season. May you draw closer to Jesus and become more like him for the sake of others.
Annual Report of the Matthews United Methodist Endowment
We could not have been given a finer leader to start our MUMC Endowment than Terry Efird. For the last 5 years he has shepherded the formation of our permanent endowment with a tender heart and a stick-to-it attention to detail. All the while, his desire was to honor God each step of the way. Thank you, Terry, for guiding us so clearly. AND we could not have been given a finer person to take us to new chapters than Sam Hatcher. Sam assumed the reigns on February 1, but the good news is Terry remains on our Endowment Team with his watchful eye. We are grateful.
I hope you’ll take the time to read the 2022 Endowment Report here.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, 3 More Things You Might Want to Give Up for Lent.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join this Sunday at 8:15 am (traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary; in person or online here), 11:00 am (traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan begins the study on the series, The Lord’s Prayer: Let’s Follow the Pattern. He will be preaching from Matthew 6:5-8, and his sermon title: What Should We Not Do When We Pray.
In our morning Sanctuary services, we will celebrate Holy Communion and continue our study on The Lord’s Prayer. The phrase of the prayer we are exploring is, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
See you Sunday and be sure and invite someone to church. You never know who might want to grow more deeply in their faith and be changed and transformed by Jesus.
And now, as always, during these uncertain and yet, hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know, our very own Henry (Hank) Donaghy has written a book titled, Make It A Great Day, published by Outskirts Press. It is filled with the wonderful stories of his lifetime. Hank writes, “I hope these experiences make a difference in the memories and lives of my family, and I hope that those who read them are able to find some inspiration in these pages.” You can purchase a copy of the book here.
Did you know that Natalie Fath, MUMC member serving on The Micah Connection team, traveled to Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria where she conducted a mobile journalism training for young women and captured the stories of people living in refugee settlements? Natalie serves as the Director of Communications for Mercy Corps, an international nonprofit organization providing humanitarian aid and resilience programming in over 40 countries. Natalie, Grant and their children, Everett, Landon and Quintin have been a part of the life of MUMC for two years now.
Did you know that our MUMC family has contributed $4,495 to the victims of the Earthquake in Turkey? These funds will provide tents, heaters, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, clothes and first aid kits. Funds were collected via our Disaster Relief Fund through Global Impact. Thank you for your generosity and prayers for the victims of this disaster as the death toll surpasses 50,000.
Did you know that racial bridge-building was found when 25 people from Mount Moriah, Matthews Presbyterian Church and MUMC responded to an impromptu invitation to gather for lunch on a recent Friday afternoon at Mr. Charles Chicken & Fish, in celebration of Black History Month? The fellowship among friends was as delicious as the food served up at this wonderful black-owned restaurant.
Did you know that 20 people met for four Sunday evenings to participate in the small group study, Justice or Just Us. Many of the participants will be making the Civil Rights Lenten Pilgrimage trip to Selma and Montgomery, and took this opportunity to study and discuss what the Bible says about justice and our call to be intentionally engaged in dismantling racism. The group created a list of 10 actions they could take, individually, or that they would bring to the Bridge Builders Fellowship, encouraging participants to become more deeply engaged and increase the involvement of the Matthews community in racial bridge-building.
Did you know that our new elected leaders for 2023 began their term on February 1? Our Key Leaders were introduced in worship this past Sunday (shown below L-R): Beth Merchant (Global Impact Team Servant Leader), John Millen (Trustees Servant Leader), Greg Klein (Finance Servant Leader), Suzanne Pugh (Administrative Council Servant Leader), Lee Goldstein (Lay Leader), and Dale Webster (Staff-Parish Relations Servant Leader, not pictured). Click here for the complete 2023 leadership list.