Looking Back, Moving Forward
I am excited by our 225th anniversary celebration coming up next month on Saturday, September 29th starting at 3 pm. We have a fun day of events planned at Bradburn Park. We will have games for kids from 3 to 5 pm and hayrides from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. The Ruritans will host a dime toss for all ages starting at 3 pm. Food including chicken, macaroni, and homemade cakes will be served from 5 to 6:30 pm. The youth will host a silent auction to raise money for their missions from 3 to 5 pm. There will be a cornhole tournament in the afternoon (more details to come). We have Big City Band coming out to play from 4 to 6 pm, and we will close with a worship service at 7 pm led by our new District Superintendent, Rev. Victor Gomez. We hope you will be able to join us for the day as we celebrate what God has done and what is still doing here in Port Republic! Invite your family and friends to join us!
We ask that if you plan to come you would let us know how many to expect so we can plan for enough food. If you have not already signed the list at church this past Sunday, sign up this Sunday or send an email to the church office of how many people you expect to bring.
As we look back at the last 225 years and move forward into the next 225, we invite everyone to participate in our art contest. Simply create a picture of something about Port Church - what it means to you, what you imagine it was like in the past, what you imagine it will look like in another 225 years, or another theme of your liking - and submit it to the church office by September 22. Please put your name only on the back of the artwork. There will be prizes selected for the people's choice in three age groups: child, youth, and adult. Have fun!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Conflict: Facing Giants (1 Samuel 17)
While there may be those who thrive on conflict, for most of us conflict is something we would rather avoid. There is a reason we have the advice to avoid talking about religion and politics at the dinner table - they are likely to cause conflict, and we would rather not have to deal with that. Yet conflict is a part of life - we cannot avoid it completely. So the question then is how we can live faithfully when we are caught up in conflict. This is an especially important question for us today, as we are living in a particularly divided time in which angry, hatred, and contempt for others abound. We are going to look at the life of King David who lived in constant conflict and highly divided times for lessons of how we can faithfully engage the conflicts of our society and of our lives. Some of these lessons from David will tell us what we ought to do while others will caution us against what we ought not do.
To understand the life of King David, we need to take a step back. About 1000 years before the time of Jesus, the people of Israel had no king and everyone did what they felt was right - not a good situation. A man named Saul was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel, and he served faithfully more or less - less over time. The final break came when Saul kept some of the plunder of a war against the Amalekites who harassed others in the wilderness when he had been instructed to wipe them out and not take the plunder. It may be hard for us today to understand the reason God would have for wanting to wipe out the whole group of people. One perspective is that a war based on not taking survivors as slaves or capturing plunder is one that has little or no personal gain for the victor. The only reason to go to war under this restriction is to right a wrong and protect those who are weak from those who would do them harm. Saul failed to do this, and so God sent Samuel to anoint the young David as king - a new king but not quite yet. Saul, not knowing David had been anointed, kept David in his court to play the harp that settled his tormented spirit.
When the giant Philistine Goliath defied Saul's army for forty days challenging them to send out a champion to fight him one-on-one to determine the outcome of a war, David arrived in camp bringing his older brothers food from home. David himself was still a young shepherd and not a warrior, but he was willing to take on Goliath in God's name, trusting in the power of God. Like the conflicts we sometimes face, facing Goliath seemed like a hopeless situation to Saul's troops. So David's brother belittled him for his willingness to fight, and even Saul questioned how David could possibly hope to win. When he heard of David's experience of fighting off bears and lions from the flocks and his confidence in God, Saul tried to arm David defensively so that he might survive Goliath's onslaught. David refused and simply took his sling and five stones. The rest, as they say, is history - David defeated Goliath and became the model for the little guy taking on the giant ever since. The things that could have held David back - hopelessness, being belittled and judged by others, feeling defensive, and being laid utterly vulnerable on the battlefield - are the same kinds of things that keep us from engaging in conflicts that are calling for a champion.
We are told to pick our battles, often meaning to avoid most conflicts. Yet we forget that this also means there are battles worth fighting for and conflicts worth engaging in despite our feelings of hopelessness, belittlement, defensiveness, and vulnerability. Some battles are certainly worth fighting for, but as Christians it truly matters which ones we fight and how we fight them if we are to be faithful. We start by avoiding unnecessary conflict that would enrich us and by choosing those battles that protect those who are weaker than ourselves. That is difference between the glorious Saul who kept plunder from his war and David the seemingly weak whose faith led him to defend all his people from being oppressed by the Philistines. May God give us the wisdom to pick our battles wisely and the courage to fight them well! In coming weeks, we are going to explore how we can remain faithful to love and grace of God as we fight those battles.
It is almost time for us to roll up our sleeves and work with our brothers and sisters to make our truckload of potatoes available to hunger ministries in our area. We will gather on September 15th at 12 noon at Grottoes UMC. Volunteers will be needed to unload the 50 pound sacks from the truck, to organize them for the orders requested by local organizations, to break down some sacks into smaller bags, and possibly to deliver some of the orders. If you would like to help, please let Pastor Jim or Lee know.
Living in Community
Thank you, Jason, Jim, Brad, Eddie, and Jason,
for bringing the story of David and Goliath to life in our worship on Sunday!
Please offer prayers of healing and comfort for Virginia.
Remember our confirmation class in your prayers as they learn and grow together!
Please pray for all of our teachers, school staff, and students
as the new school year starts.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, August 22
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, August 23
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Saturday, August 25
2:00 pm - Church-wide Clean-up Day
Sunday, August 26
9:30 am - Worship: "Conflict: The Friend of My Enemy Is..."
Communion Server Training following worship
11:00 am - Sunday School
5:00 pm - Confirmation Class at Ciro's
Additional Communion Server Training - September 9, following worship
Philippians Bible Study in Sunday School - September 9
Wednesday at the Port - September 12, 6 pm
Potato Drop hosted at Grottoes UMC - September 15, 12 noon
225th Anniversary Celebration - September 29, 3 pm - until
Nativity Workday - October 6
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