This Saturday, we are holding a clean-up day at the church from 8 to 12 - complete with donuts and coffee. We have a lot of small projects to complete, from wiping down rails to removing obstacles that interfere with our summertime mowing. We hope to see you there for a little spring cleaning!
As we spruce up the church and consider what needs to be done in our own homes as we come out of the winter cold in the next couple of months, it is a good time to consider what kind of spring cleaning we need to do in our lives, especially as it impacts our faith. Have our lives grown overly busy so that they now need some pruning to make time for what truly matters? Have negativity and resentment dirtied up the windows making it harder for God's light to get in? Is it time to pull out some of the overgrown, dying shrubs to make room for new seeds to grow? What in your life needs some cleaning out this spring?
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Forgiven: Forget About It? (Psalm 103:1-12, Isaiah 43:22-25)
When it comes to forgiveness, there is another word associated with it that causes us some trouble - forget. "Forgive and forget" - we are told this is the ideal of the Christian life. Yet the forget part is so difficult. If we think of what someone has done to us when we see them, have we really forgiven? How can we possibly forget about some of the worst things others have done to us? Besides, trying to forget winds us reminding us of it instead. To understand the relationship of forgive and forget, we need to first understand a bit more about what forgiveness is. In Psalm 103, we find a picture of what it means when God forgive us of our sin. If sin is what separates us from God, then God's love is what separates us from our sin, as far as east is from west. The gap that forms between us because of our sin is nothing in comparison to God's infinite love. God pushes away and removes our sin in the same way that that sin tries to push us away from God. One key thing to note is that God does not forget the sin but removes it. It is still there but pushed so far aside that it is no longer what defines our relationship with God. So where does this idea of "forgive and forget" come from? The Bible does not talk so much of forgetting sin but rather of God's not remembering it. In Isaiah 43, God declares that, although the people have not come back with their offerings for sin, their sin is forgiven for God's sake and are remembered no more. This tells us several things. First, God's forgiveness is already available before we repent - we simply need to accept it. Second, forgiveness is rooted in who the forgiver is rather than what the transgressor deserves. Third, forgiveness begins with the choice to not remember the sin. What difference is there between not remembering and forgetting? To forget is not the opposite of to remember but instead the failure to remember. Forgetting is something that passively happens to us over time. Not remembering is a choice to hold something in mind. When we see someone who has wronged us, we can make the choice to not remember it - to not actively hold it in mind. What this does is free us from defining others by their sins and from defining ourselves as a victim. In this way, it is more for our sake that we should forgive so that we and our relationships with others are not defined by the sins of others. (Caveat: Not remembering the sin of someone who has deeply hurt us and shattered trust does not mean that we let ourselves get back into the situation for them to do it again - that would be forgetting. This does neither of us any good. We can choose to not define the other person by the sin while also not tempting a repeat of it. This is a part of being, as the Bible says, innocent as doves and wise as serpents. This is one reason that the difference between not remembering and forgetting matters!) What sins can you not forget? What would it take to not remember them?
Here's a little exercise we used with our Little Fishermen to help them learn to use the Bible. To find the answer to the question, look up the verses in an NIV Bible and find the words listed.
Why didn't they play cards on the ark?
1 Samuel 12:7 (word 5)
Genesis 6:8 (word 2)
Revelation 4:7 (word 5)
Mark 15:35 (word 5)
Acts 7:13 (word 1)
Isaiah 23:13 (word 3)
Jonah 1:5 (word 31)
Living in Community
Thank you, Linda, Steve, and Gretchen, for helping out with Sunday's sermon!
Thank you to all of our wonderful Children's Church volunteers:
Amie, Kara, Hannah, Becky, Tara, Meg, Lee, and our youth helpers!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, February 28
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, March 1
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Saturday, March 3
8:00 am - 12:00 noon - Clean-up Day
Sunday, March 4
9:30 am - Worship: "Forgiven: Break the Cycle"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Monday, March 5
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, March 6
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
225th Anniversary Planning Meeting - March 11
VBS tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
PO Box 116
Port Republic, VA 24471