I am excited for our worship service this Sunday - Praise in the Park! We are going to gather in our church park for a special service of celebration. We will praise God in the midst of God's creation, letting our songs join the songs of the sparrows. We will recognize our graduates and bless them as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives. We will gather by the flowing river to confirm two of our youth who have decided to claim the gift of their baptisms for themselves. Finally, in good Methodist fashion, we will celebrate it all with a grand picnic! We have much to celebrate, and I hope you will be there to lift our praises and bless our young folks. Invite a friend or neighbor, and let us praise God together with all God's creation!
Blessings on the journey,
Tongues of Fire
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Fighting Fairly (John 12:1-8)
Conflict is a natural part of life and fills our every day. From the minor things to the major, we experience conflict with those around us because we have different ideas, priorities, and concerns. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes conflict is actually good as it can lead us to re-evaluate our beliefs and ourselves so that we might make much-needed changes for the better. Conflict is a part of life and indeed a part of the gospel. When Jesus was born, it created conflict with the powers that were, namely Herod the king. When Jesus began his ministry of teaching and healing, it immediately created conflict with the religious authorities. Still, conflict seems to be counter to the call for us to be kind in our words and temper our tongues. How are Christians to engage in the inevitable conflicts of life without losing our souls in the process? One example we have comes from the conflict between Judas and Jesus over Mary's gift of anointing Jesus with perfume worth a year's wages. Judas, wanting to have a larger purse from which to steal, creates a false choice of serving the poor or serving Jesus. Who - especially Jesus - would argue with selling the perfume to help the poor? This, after all, is the Jesus who told a rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor. But Judas is being dishonest in protesting this way. It is the same way that today we avoid issues by pointing out "more important" issues that no one would normally argue against. A group of folks want to reach out to the hungry and homeless, but other folks are worried about spending money that way. Instead of engaging the issue honestly with their concerns, they create a false choice: "What about the kids in our community?" No one wants to be seen as being against kids, so they may drop the whole issue. We see this constantly as people in power play one issue against another so that, at the end of the day, nothing actually gets done and nothing changes. But Jesus engages this conflict honestly. He acknowledges the truth of what Judas has said (despite the dishonesty it hides). The poor will always be with you and you should want to do something for them, he admits. "But I am with you only a short while." Jesus engages the false choice put before him in an honest way and explains why he believes Mary's actions reflect the greatest priority of the moment. This is how we are called to engage our conflicts - with honesty! Tactics that obscure the truth and create false choices may win us the battle, but God's will will likely not be done. We are called to speak our truth - the truth as best as we understand it - to one another and to listen to the truths of others that together we might uncover God's truth. John Wesley called this conferencing and considered it to be a means of grace - one of the ways we experience God's grace in our lives. To confer simply means to bring together, and in bringing together our truths in the search for God's truth we find grace. May we share in that grace throughout the conflicts life brings our way!
Praise in the Park This Sunday - 10 am!
June 5th will be a special day of worship here at Port Church - Praise in the Park! Join us at 10 am at our park for worship including graduate recognition and confirmation of new members. Bring a lawn chair as only limited seating will be provided. Please reserve parking at the park for our elderly and handicapped folks. We will have a picnic following worship. Meat will be provided, so please bring a dish or two to share.
Living in Community
Thanks to Bob for leading our prayer as a part of our worship on Sunday!
Thanks to Meg for helping to serve communion this past Sunday!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, June 1
10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Office Hours
Limited office hours in Dianna's absence May 25 - June 9.
Please feel free to call or email Pastor Jim if you need anything outside these hours.
Sunday, June 5
10 am - Worship - Praise in the Park: "Taking Up the Mantle"
Graduate Recognition and Confirmation
Picnic to follow
Vacation Bible School - June 27-July 1
100th Anniversary Celebration of Sanctuary - July 24
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!