By Our Love
Super Tuesday has come and gone, and we are one step closer to knowing what the general election will look like this fall. It appears, though, that we are no closer to the end of all the ugliness that this election has brought on. I cannot remember an election cycle in my lifetime as ugly and mean in personal attacks as this one, and I have to say that it saddens me that this is the state of political discourse in our nation.
In the midst of Tuesday's primaries and all the sensational news stories it brought on, a fellow pastor shared a story what he witnessed at one of the polling stations here in Virginia. As he sat his car reading a message on his phone before getting out, he looked up to see a bit of a commotion there in front of the polling station. An elderly person had fallen between the curb and their car, and an election official and several bystanders quickly rushed to aid the person. What the pastor noted was that the two folks who reached down to help the person up. One wore a t-shirt for a candidate from one party, and the other wore a button in support of a candidate from the other party. Two opposing viewpoints came together to help the one in need. No harsh words or insults thrown. No threats. Just two neighbors being just that - a neighbor to the one in need of help.
In these days when the powers that be and those who seek power would have us fighting it out amongst ourselves, let us remember that Jesus said we will be known as his by our love for one another - not by our political views, not by our votes, but by our love. May we all be willing to put aside the things that divide us long enough to remember that we are called to love another as he has loved us!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Wilderness: Becoming God's Servant
Throughout this season of Lent - a time of spiritual reflection and growth, we are travelling alongside the prophet Elijah to see how his journey through the wilderness formed him to be the prophet God was calling him to be.
Last Sunday's Sermon Snippet:
Becoming God'sServant (1 Kings 17:17-24)
Elijah and the widow with whom he was staying in the town of Zarephath were getting by on the jar of flour and jug of oil that miraculously never ran out. All the while, Elijah was just waiting and waiting for the time come for him to return to Israel and confront King Ahab again. Up to this point in his ministry, Elijah had just passively followed God and received what he needed from God. That is until tragedy struck. The widow's son fell ill and was dying. She accused Elijah of bringing this tragedy on her family by bringing God's focus on them, including whatever sin they may have in their lives. Elijah heard no word from God on what to do, and so, for the first time, he took matters into his own hands and did the only thing he knew to do. He prayed to God - and not just any prayer! He confronted God with his own anger and confusion over what God was letting happen to this boy and his family, and then he prayed three times over him to demand God return the boy's life to him. God heard the prayer, and the boy was healed. For the first time, Elijah was confronted with what it takes to become God's servant. While it takes some amount of faith to simply follow God and do whatever - sometimes crazy - things God asks of us, it takes even more faith to confront God with our deepest feelings, to wrestle with God, and to stick with God no matter what happens. God wants us to have an active faith that converses and wrestles with God rather than just a passive faith that takes whatever comes our way. Like so many others in Scripture, Elijah was finally becoming the servant of God he was called to be by wrestling with God.
Elijah was finally ready for the confrontation he always knew was coming. He had hidden long enough in the wilderness from the troubles that had surrounded him for years, and he was ready to come of out of hiding! With confidence and a deeper faith, he again confronted Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Then just as it seemed like all was well and that he had carried the day as the rains returned, the bottom fell out. Join us this Sunday as we hear what happens as Elijah comes "Out of Hiding"!
Order Easter Lilies Now!
Easter will be here before we know it, so now is the time to order your lilies to fill our sanctuary on that beautiful morning! You can place your lilies in honor or memory of those dear to you. Please see Pam Hargrave for more details.
Several changes are coming to Vacation Bible School this year, and we want to keep you up-to-date. Due to work on the school, the gym at South River will not be available to us, so we are adjusting a few things. We will not serve dinner beforehand but will serve a heavy snack as a part of the rotation for all of our classes. Registration and drop-off will happen at the front entrance of the school, and pick-up will happen in designated classrooms at the close of the night. We are excited that these changes will help us to keep better track of the kids and ensure their safety. While it will take some work to implement these changes and adjust to not having the gym this year, we are excited for the new opportunities that they open for us as well. If you have any questions or thoughts about these changes, please feel free to talk with Dinah or Susie.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, March 2
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Everyone is invited to join the youth
for a special presentation by Heather Baker
on her mission work in Guatemala!
Thursday, March 3
9:30 am - 12:00 noon - Office Hours
Sunday, March 6
9:30 am - Worship Service
"Wilderness: Out of Hiding"
11:00 am - Sunday School
6:00 pm - Confirmation Class at Ciro's
Youth Sunday - April 3
VBS Training - May 22
Vacation Bible School - June 27-July 1
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!