In April and May, we spent our time in worship exploring what makes a disciple a disciple - that is, what are the roots of a follower of Jesus. We talked about the need to grow our roots deeper so that we can stand tall where the storm waters come our way. Little could we have known then what literal storms we would face by the end of May and first of June. With the recent rains, we have seen damage all around. We have been fortunate here in Port Republic that the flood waters have not risen more than they have with all the rain that has fallen around us.
Yet even with the rivers staying mostly in their banks, we have seen cresting that flooded around the trunks of some of the trees along the bank. I was at our church park last Thursday, and, as I visited with someone else who had come to see the waters, I heard a sudden noise across the river. A small tree whose roots no longer had enough soil to cling to plopped down into the river still standing upright. It was not long before it started to teeter and eventually fell over and began a journey down the river. Even one of our larger trees along the bank in the park could not withstand the current and was swept away this weekend (Thanks to Dinah for the picture!)
We never know when the storms of life may come our way, and even with deep roots, sometimes they are too much to withstand. It makes me remember the summer a few years ago when the straight-line winds of the derecho plowed through the Valley. The next morning, I checked our garden. The tomatoes, despite having cages and stakes to support them, had been pummeled to the ground. The surprising thing was that our kale - the first row of the garden to be hit by the winds - stood upright with no sign of any damage except at the end of the row where plants grew farther away from the others. I had planted the kale perhaps a little more closely than usual, and the leaves had grown tangled together so that they supported each other in the high winds.
The storms of life will hit us, often unexpectedly. When our own roots begin to fail us, it is good to have one another when the storms come. We are stronger together. As the Teacher wrote in Ecclesiastes, "two are better than one." May we live our lives giving one another strength and support as we face the storms together!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Keeping Count (Luke 15)
We talked a couple of months ago about how God does not want us to keep count of the wrongs someone does to us or the number of times we forgive them. Yet some numbers are extremely important in the Bible. In fact, Jesus told three stories about folks who kept count of what they had and what happened when they lost something. The first is about a shepherd who had 100 sheep and noticed one missing. This is a miracle that the shepherd noticed 1 out of 100 missing. To do that, he truly had to keep count of what mattered to him - his sheep. What do we keep count of? The number of likes on our social media posts, the stock market, how much stuff we have? Why do we not keep a count of the things that truly matter? Our friends and family, people in need, the days God has given us, our blessings. When I say keep count, I don't mean to try to accumulate or hoard more or to know the number so we can compete with others. Keeping count means to keep track of the things that matter so we don't lose them. So what happens when we notice we have lost a friend, wasted a God-given day, or overlooked helping those in need? We do something to find it. Like the shepherd heading out, a woman who lost one of her ten coins searches and cleans her home until she finds the missing coin. Sometimes we let the shame and sense of failure of losing something keep us from looking for it. We let a friend go instead of going after them, for instance. Keeping count means to go find that which we lose track of. Our shame also makes us embarrassed to admit we have lost things. Yet the shepherd and woman rejoice with their neighbors when they find what they are missing. Instead of worrying about what the neighbors might think about them losing things in the first place, these two people invite them to celebrate. There was a father with two sons, and he lost one to greed and selfishness. What did he do? He went out to look for his son's return. Perhaps the neighbors talked about him and his fruitless search. But when his son returned, he threw a grand party to celebrate. Keeping count means celebrating what is found more than lamenting what is lost. Keep count of what matters in life, find that which is lost, and celebrate those you find!
Living in Community
Thank you to everyone who was ready to make our Praise in the Park happen
and adjusted plans due to the weather!
Thank you, Sue, for coordinating our potluck and graduate recognition!
Thank you, Jean and Joe, for the wonderful gifts you created for our graduates!
Thanks, Linda, the Praise Team, and the Tech Team,
for blessing us with awesome music this past Sunday!
Thanks to Becky for leading Children's Church
when our plans changed!
Congratulations to our high school gradutes:
Tristan, Rachel, and Rayanna!
And to our college/university graduates:
Becca, Emilie, Chandler, Tomi, Guy, and Joshua!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, June 6
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, June 7
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Saturday, June 9
8:00 am - Kids Fishing Trip
Meet at the church!
Sunday, June 10
9:30 am - Worship with Communion: "One Thing"
11:00 am - Sunday School
2:00 - 5:00 pm - Farewell Reception for District Superintendent
Rev. Tommy Herndon at Dayton UMC
VBS Float in Parade - June 22
Vacation Bible School - June 25-29
Welcome Reception for New District Superintendent - July 15, 2-5 pm, Dayton UMC
Back-to-School Bingo - August 12
Potato Drop to benefit local hunger ministries - September 15
225th Anniversary Celebration - September 29
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