The Empty Sanctuary
No lights streaming from the altar rail, no nativity scene adorning the table, no tree standing guard in the corner with its white and gold Chrismons and tiny twinkles of white light, no poinsettias setting blazing like fire in the chancel area, no candles in the windows, no Advent wreath counting down the weeks. It was odd to be back in our sanctuary for worship this past Sunday with all of the decorations from Advent and Christmas packed away. There was definitely a certain emptiness to the sanctuary without all of it.
Yet we had such a wonderful crowd of folks - kids, youth, adults, and seniors alike! For all its emptiness of sights of the holiday season, our sanctuary was filled with the warmth of fellowship, joyful singing, and prayerful presence. Perhaps our sanctuary was not so empty after all, because it was filled to overflowing with God's Spirit in God's people. In the midst of the cold and gloomy winter, I am thankful for a sanctuary filled with what truly matters - good people, good faith, and good worship!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Forgotten Folks of Faith
Join us in worship over the coming weeks as we look at the stories of some of the forgotten folks of faith that God used to do amazing things!
Last Sunday's Sermon Snippet:
The Midwives (Exodus 1)
Shiphrah and Puah were two midwives simply trying to do their jobs - to help babies be born safely and to protect the lives of the mothers in the process. That is, until the pharaoh gave them an order that went against everything they stood for. Threatened by the growing numbers of the Israelites in their midst in Egypt, the pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill all the male infants that they delivered. They were caught in a dilemma: do what they knew to be wrong or risk their own lives by doing what was right. These remarkable women knew what they had to do but came up with a clever third way to avoid losing their lives and exposed the pharaoh's evil for what it was. When the ruler demanded to know why they had not followed through on his order, the midwives responded that the Israelite women were more vigorous ("beastly") than Egyptian women and delivered before they could arrive. Their response - perhaps a bit untruthful - points to the larger truth that the pharaoh is treating the Israelite people as mere beasts rather than human and that the force of Life is on the side of the oppressed. By finding a third way, these heroes of faith stand defiant of the pharaoh while preserving their own lives and are rewarded for their faithfulness to God. As we face seemingly overwhelming dilemmas in life, may we remember these midwives who show us the third way that is faithful to God and reveals the evil of the world for what it is.
Have you ever wondered why God lets us be in the places we are in life? Have you ever thought you are too unimportant to make a difference in the world for God? Join us this Sunday as hear the story of a maid who becomes a hero - one of our Forgotten Folks of Faith!
Wednesday at the Port resumes this week!
Wednesday at the Port is back for those cold, dark winter months. Join us each Wednesday at 6 pm for a hearty, warm meal and great fellowship. Classes for children and youth of all ages are available. We are in need of volunteers to help serve and clean up for the meal. See Sue Good if you can help out one or more weeks.
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Tuesday, January 12
6:00 pm - Finance Committee
7:00 pm - Administrative Council
Wednesday, January 13
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, January 14
9:30 am - 12:00 noon - Office Hours
7:30 pm - SPRC Meeting
Sunday, January 17
9:30 am - Worship Service
"Forgotten Folks of Faith: The Maid"
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