Dear Friends in Park County and beyond,
There is a lot of guilt in our Christian tradition. Surely if we are having too much fun then we must be doing something wrong! But, do you think that comes from God? I was challenged this week to think about that. God created this amazing, beautiful planet for us to live on and enjoy. God gave us tastebuds to enjoy the taste of the food we eat. God gave us the ability to laugh and smile and be filled with joy. God created us in a way that our hearts become full when we have fun playing with other people. In these intense days, I think it is important to seek out pleasure and let go of the guilt that comes with it. Go ahead and eat that bowl of ice cream and enjoy it! I’ve been enjoying long hot showers. It’s like the stress dissipates with the water and goes down the drain. And it just plain old feels good.
Remember what it feels like when you give a gift to someone, and they open it, then are minimally happy with it and move on to the next thing. It is disappointing. It doesn’t feel good. In contrast, when you give a gift and the recipient is genuinely excited, they get a big smile and enjoy the gift…if fills the gift-giver with joy too. Gifts are given to enjoy! God has given us so many gifts! When we respond thinking we can’t enjoy the gifts and guilt surfaces, I don’t think that’s what God intended. Life is given to enjoy! It’s not that we should ignore the hard things, deny the struggles and difficulties. We need to feel those and acknowledge them. But especially in these difficult days, we also need pleasure and joy to balance that out. So, go seek out pleasure! Enjoy life! That will honor God.
JOIN THE EASTER VIRTUAL CHOIR
A new trend has evolved this year, the virtual choir. We have enjoyed several of them during our Zoom worship experiences. The UMC is putting together a virtual choir for Easter and invites you to participate. They will be singing #308 Thine Be The Glory. It is not difficult. You download the accompaniment, record yourself singing it on your phone or computer, then upload it and they assemble it. I can help you with that if you wish. Here is a link to the information https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/be-a-part-of-the-united-methodist-church-easter-virtual-choir?mc_cid=a740919ab2&mc_eid=ff0f75d12b
WORSHIP and SERMONS
We have begun the season of Lent. This year we will explore what happens when divine love meets humanity. Each week my sermon is uploaded onto our website. You can find them here https://www.methodistsontheyellowstone.org/ Feel free to share with others. I also attach a written copy to this email. This coming Sunday, what happens when Jesus meets us in the storms? Mark 4:35-41. It’s a communion Sunday, bring something to eat and something to drink to your zoom screen!
LENT SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Each week in Lent I will offer teaching and an invitation into a spiritual practice. My hope is that it expands our repertoire of ways we connect with God. I invite you to try each one for a week and see how it feels. I find it refreshing to try different spiritual practices as I seek to draw near to the heart of God. This week it is an untraditional spiritual practice, I encourage you to seek out something you enjoy each day. I’m calling it Pursue Pleasure. Satisfy your tastebuds by enjoying a favorite meal or drink, experience joy when you laugh with someone you love, walk outside and enjoy the gift of God’s creation, experience things that bring you pleasure. The possibilities are endless. May you find pleasure in your journey.
We have a team of people creating a new mission for our parish to feed families through gardening. We are calling it Corner Garden and will include helping people plant a garden, offer advice to grow a garden, and teach how to process the harvest. We will soon have specific opportunities to support this mission. If you want to join our planning team, our next meeting is Tuesday, March 9th at 4. Zoom Meeting ID: 815 7879 2161. If you have ideas, contact one of our current team members: Carol Beadle, Stacy Jovick, Carol Kron, DeeAnn Durgan, Susan Payne, and Luan Peterson.
WEEKLY OPPORTUNITIES (Look for the meeting ID and password in our weekly email!)
Meaningful Conversations on Zoom Wednesdays at 11 am we gather on Zoom.
Men’s Group on Wednesdays at noon meets at Grace UMC. Their current book is The Rock, The Road and The Rabbi. All are welcome!
Hymns and Prayers on Thursday evenings at 7 on Zoom. Join us for deeper connection. It refreshes our souls and lifts us up each week.
Sunday Morning Digital Worship on Zoom at 9 am!
In-person Worship at Holbrook on Sundays at 11 am. Masks and social distancing observed.
May the Lord Bless You and Keep You,
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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