Happy Mother's Day!
Since my mother passed away five years ago, Mother's Day has been a bittersweet day. While the boys and I celebrate the mother in our family - often with the planting of flowers in the yard or a container - it is strange to not be able to call my own mother just to say hello. Despite that sadness, there is still the joy of remembering Mama. I certainly wouldn't be who I am today without her.
I count myself blessed to have had the mother I did and doubly blessed to have had so many others who mothered me along the way. Growing up with three older sisters, I often joked that I had four mamas. Despite the typical sibling squabbles we engaged in (and still engage in), I am thankful for how they watched after me and helped me along life's way. I am grateful for my aunt who was always there and could always be called upon if I needed her. I remember all the teachers and the pastor of my home church who mentored me and helped me to grow into adulthood. While I will certainly miss my mother this weekend, I know that God has blessed me with so many folks who have mothered me in one way or another over the years, and I find myself happy.
Thank you to all the folks in our congregation who are likewise mothering the children of our congregation and giving them a blessing beyond measure! For our Sunday School teachers, children church leaders, nursery care workers, cooks and servers, bus drivers and riders, and friends and mentors to children, thank you for the gift you are giving our kids that they will one day cherish!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Character: The Roots of a Disciple
The Life of Prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Revisiting the short list of instructions that the Apostle Paul offered in his first letter to the Thessalonians, we find another root that keeps a disciple grounded in life: pray continually. How can one possibly pray without ceasing? Eventually, we will need to say "Amen," end our prayer, and actually live life: talk with other people, do our work at school, jobs, or home, etc. Yet Paul challenges to keep on praying. To wrap our minds around this idea, we need to look at three aspects of prayer that limit how we view it and how we practice it.
First of all, we often see prayer as something we ought to do. We are encouraged to pray daily and to spend at least a certain amount of time in prayer - good things to be sure - but viewing prayer this way can make it seem like more of a responsibility than a relationship. Prayer is the conversation of our relationship with God. Just as we catch up with a friend over a cup of coffee or while working on a project together, we catch up with God when we engage in prayer. Secondly, prayer is not a time when we return to God after an absence as much as remembering that who we are and whose we are. When we leave our homes, we do not cease to be a parent, a child, a sibling, or a friend. We are still in relationship even when we are apart. When we say "Amen," we do not cease to be God's children and beloved. Prayer helps us to remember who we are and that we are always in relationship with God. The third thing for us to think about is what it means to pray. So many of our prayers go something like, "Dear God, please take care of this problem. Amen." If prayer is a relationship, however, our conversation should include at least as much listening as talking. Since God probably has a lot better things to say than we do, it might behoove us to spend more time listening than talking. Often when we do listen, we are waiting for a response to what we have asked for first. What would it be like if we were to listen without an agenda - to start a conversation, "Hey, God, how are things going?" What if we were to just listen to whatever God had to say? What if we were ready to pick up the phone and listen whenever God may call?
If prayer is about a relationship rather than a responsibility, about remembering whose we are rather than returning to God, and more about listening than talking, then what we are called to is not set times of prayer but a life of prayer. That life will include all kinds of prayers just as any relationship has all kinds of conversations: spoken and unspoken, active and passive, public and private, written and spontaneous, formal and informal. These words are just an expression of our relationship with God - our continual prayer. A single prayer may end with "Amen" but a life of prayer begins there! Disciples are connected to God because they live a life of continual prayer.
Reimbursements and Bill Payments
If you are requesting payment of a bill to a company or individual, we ask that you complete an expense voucher available in the church office, sign off on the expense, and leave it along with the bill in the Treasurer's mailbox.
If you are submitting a reimbursement for expenses you have paid out of pocket, please complete an expense voucher, then have another person involved in the ministry sign off on the expense as well, and submit with receipts to the Treasurer's mailbox. You can also leave them in the Pastor's mailbox to be signed off on, and they will be submitted to the Treasurer for you.
This helps us to keep track of what expenses are for and makes us better stewards of God's resources. Thanks for your cooperation!
Living in Community
Thank you, Meg, Chris, and Davida, for helping
to serve communion in worship on Sunday!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, May 9
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, May 10
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, May 13
9:30 am - Worship: "Character: The Roots of a Disciple"
11:00 am - Sunday School
VBS Training - May 20, 12 noon
Graduate Recognition - June 3
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!