March 14: Sunday Morning Email from Pastor Brad:
Good morning MUMC family,
It’s the last Sunday of Winter, 2020, and we aren’t able to have our worship service this morning due to restrictions from the coronavirus. Just for an update, I’m now 48 hours without a fever and my body aches and wheeze are gone. Thanks for your prayers.
But even without our time together, I hope that you each will take time for some quiet time with our Heavenly Father this morning. Please consider 30 minutes or so of time to spend in reflection, meditation, in reading the Word, or however you best will be able to put your own busy mind and self aside and focus your attention on Him. If you want to sing a song, do so! Spring starts this week. I was going to have us sing “Morning Has Broken”, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, and “Amazing Grace” this morning. The beautiful lyrics of these three songs are included at the end of this letter.
Remember back in the fall we talked about alters in our everyday life where you can be with God? This is a good time to put that into practice. God is in and through everything and everyone around us. Of course we’re socially distancing so maybe this is a good time to focus on God in nature, maybe not so much in relationship. 😊 Every living thing around us, all of the beautiful scenery, the waterways and mountains, the deep-dark green of the forest, the way the trees bend in the breeze, the flower buds on the trees lining our streets… these are all made by God. These are all full of His presence. If you are able, get out to the park or the beach or the locks or into the forest and notice the presence of God surrounding you. Spend time before his altar.
We are in the midst of a crazy-feeling, uncertain time. Spend some time noticing the reality of God’s beauty, care, and steadfastness all around you. That care is for you, for your loved ones, and for your neighbors, and it is real. You are loved by the Creator and God is your protector.
Then, after some time of quiet, focusing on God, think through the people at our little fellowship. There’s not a lot of us, so it’s not too hard. Close your eyes, picture each person, and say a prayer for them. Whatever comes to mind when you picture them… say that prayer.
And then, as you go through your day and through the week ahead, maybe remember the sermon from a couple weeks ago. We were talking about the verses at the end of John when Jesus has died and the fisherman/disciples are in a time of ambiguity, confusion and fear. And they go fishing. Jesus shows up and calls them to shore. They spend a beautiful time at the seashore, around a fire, eating fish and bread with Jesus… their teacher and friend. It’s a time of rest and renewal with their Lord while they are in this in-between space. And from there, they go on to be the key instruments of spreading Jesus’ Good News to the ends of the earth. But earlier that day they had been utterly confused about how things were going to play out and what their roles were. Then Jesus came, and said, “Come to the seashore, sit by the fire, share some fish and loaves with me.”
We are, as a society, in a time of uncertainty. We don’t know where things are going. But the current restrictions are forcing us all to slow down, to reprioritize. And we so easily spend our time worrying. But Jesus is calling from shore for us to come and be with him, by the fire, with the fish and loaves, hanging out. We can claim this time in between for Him. We can seek him in every nook and cranny of this experience. And we will all come out the other side of this. And bigger and better things await. God is God yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Please, if you need anything physically, if you need help or supplies, if you need prayer, we as a family at MUMC, are here for each other. Let us know and allow us to be Christ in your life.
15 Mar 2020
Opening Hymn Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven
like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where his feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day.
*Hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all!
Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings.
God made their glowing colors, and made their tiny wings.
The purple headed mountains, the river running by,
The sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden: God made them every one.
God gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.
*Closing Hymn Amazing Grace
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.