“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.” -I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Paul here is teaching the young believers in Thessalonica about the life of faith following Jesus. I think it is important to notice that Paul writes, “give thanks IN all circumstances.” We don’t have to give thanks FOR everything, but we need to learn how to give thanks IN everything. I looked up my grandpa’s notes on this verse. He writes, “Joy dies when communion with God ceases and complaining replaces thankfulness.” We have a lot to complain about these days! But that complaining will only rob us of our joy. When we find ourselves complaining we would do well to notice it and name the things we are not happy about. But then to keep with that thread and look for things we can be thankful for IN the difficult circumstances. May you find joy in your thanksgiving this week, even amidst all the difficulty of these days.
Dear Family of Faith,
I have been procrastinating writing to you all this week. I haven’t known what to say. As the week progressed, the phrase “common ground” kept popping up for me in several contexts. One thing is clear and that is our country is painfully divided. No matter who wins this election, we all need to seek to find our way to kindness, respect, and harmony. We can’t depend on our elected leaders to get us there. That is work we each must do. And I would contend that living in the way of Jesus will get us to a place of peace and harmony. Our timely beatitude this week is “Blessed are the peacemakers.” What does is look like for us to make peace in these days? The path to peace includes finding common ground because I truly believe we all have more in common than that which divides us. And we need to do the hard work of loving one another; our friends and family, our neighbors, and even our enemies. Let us all continue to pray and work for peace. I hope to see you Sunday ☺
Today we read from Matthew 5:8-9. Our guest preacher is Rev. Dr. Chris Haughee of Intermountain Children's Home "We ask What ancestors are walking with you and cheering you on?" today.
As our election process continues and election day arrives next week, we are weary. We are afraid. We are hopeful. We are angry. We are hurt. Such a mixed array of feelings. And, as God would have it, my sermon the Sunday after the election is on the beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I look forward to thinking through what that means for us in these contentious days. Meanwhile, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote these words in his journal on October 6, 1774:
Dear Church Family,
Last week I participated in our Conference Clergy Retreat via Zoom on Wednesday and Thursday. It was good to be encouraged and inspired by our clergy on more than 170 screens which represented over 200 people. In our closing communion, we read a liturgy which began by lamenting the things the pandemic, racial reckoning, election cycle, fires and hurricanes have taken from us. Then it continued with these words:
Dear people of Grace, Holbrook, Pine Creek and Shields Valley,
As I sit to write this, I realize that my heart is tired. The news cycle this week is wearing me out. The world feels very chaotic right now. On one level life is good. My family is healthy. My work is fulfilling. You all are a source of encouragement. God feels near. But on another level…chaos swirls all around me, tossing me this way and that. As I reflect, I am reminded of a verse in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul.” Whew. I need that. I need an anchor to keep me secure. To keep my soul tethered to God. To renew my spirit. The good news is I have an anchor in Jesus! We have hope in God. God is with us and will see us through this chaotic season. If you are feeling bashed around these days, look to Jesus as an anchor for your soul. Here is a prayer I found that will guide me in my devotions written by Laura Jean Truman:
“God, keep my anger from becoming meanness. Keep my sorrow from collapsing into self-pity. Keep my heart soft enough to keep breaking. Keep my anger turned toward justice, not cruelty. Remind me that all of this, every bit of it, is for love. Keep me fiercely kind. Amen.” Hold on to hope.
How is your “surge capacity”? According to Dr. Ann Masten, PhD., surge capacity is the collection of mental and physical adaptive systems we use to cope with an acutely stressful situation, such as a natural disaster. We have now hit the 6-month wall with this pandemic which is pushing the limits of our surge capacity. It is natural to feel depleted and out of sorts, it is natural to feel effects of chronic stress. As the pandemic extends indefinitely it becomes a chronic situation not crisis. It becomes critical then for us to figure out how to replenish our surge capacity, renew our reserves. Here is some advice from experts. First, hold on to hope because this is temporary. Accept that life is different now. Expect less from yourself and be kind to yourself. Look for activities that renew your spirit, look particularly to creative outlets. Indulge your senses. Focus on maintaining and strengthening your relationships. Remember we are human beings not human doings. Sunday, I talked about how to comfort is to share strength. Let us be comforters to one another. Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. If you are feeling down, then reach out. We are all in this together.
Dear people of Grace, Holbrook, Pine Creek and Shields Valley,
I am enjoying a week away in Idaho, exploring the Sawtooth mountains and studying the Beatitudes. This week is renewing my spirit and soul and preparing me for the months to come. It is good to get away from the daily grind of life occasionally in order to hear from God in new ways. I am sitting here by the Salmon River and golden Aspen leaves are falling on me as the wind picks up. Fall. This transitional season as the leaves change color and eventually fall off stirs me to reflect on my life. What do I need to let go of in this season? We tend to collect commitments, resentments, stuff, worries, etc. The cumulation burdens us and prevents us from the new life God has for us. Fall is a good reminder to let go as seasons come and go.
The 72nd annual Pine Creek Harvest sale will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26. In light of COVID-19 restrictions, masks wearing and social distancing practices will be adhered to.
The auction will take place a 1 p.m. following complimentary ice cream at noon. Don't forget to wear a mask and be sure to bring your friends and family!
One of the items up for auction is a handmade quilt (Below) made by the Carol Beadle.
Park County United Methodist Ministries
Just a place for some easy messaging. Feel free to comment!