Dear Messiah family,
Prayer. When I don’t know what to make of what’s happening in my life or the world around me, it is prayer that calms my heart and draws me ever closer to God. I may have mentioned that I got a new watch a few months ago that has an app which several times a day reminds me to breathe. For 60 seconds, be still. I may be in the middle of something and suddenly my watch calls me to stop and breathe. I now use that call as an opportunity to pray – usually one of three breath prayers (“Lord Jesus, have mercy on me” or “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want” or “Be still and know that I am God.”) Just 60 seconds several times a day to remember the One who is within me.
And with all that our nation is facing medically, economically, and politically, this morning I was drawn to the third verse of hymn #437: “This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms: Thy kingdom come; on earth thy will be done. Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him, and hearts united learn to live as one. O hear my prayer, thou God all the nations; myself I give thee; let thy will be done.” This will be a prayer that I return to in the week ahead.
Our January series continues, Love Your Neighbor. The Great Commandment that Jesus gave us is a call to be the bridge from God’s love to the needs of this world. One of the divides in our nation and community is racial. On this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, I will share a conversation that I had recently with Dr. Fayneese Miller, president of Hamline University. Hamline was established by the Methodist Church in 1854 as the first college in what was then the territory of Minnesota. Dr. Miller is the 20th president of Hamline and its first African American president. I hope you will be blessed by this conversation as I was. I think you will also see how this conversation connects with the answer that Jesus provided to the question, “who is my neighbor?”
Our Vision 2023 strategic plan calls us to look for gaps in the community that we could fill and also to respond to the needs of youth in our community. Last fall, we became aware of Treehouse, a faith-based organization that serves youth in our community. We’ve decided to partner with Treehouse Plymouth. For more information on TreeHouse, visit their website at treehousehope.org or watch this 3-minute YouTube video: youtu.be/7tQaD6F3wLs. Treehouse Plymouth is also our Second Mile Offering for January:
In 2020, we formed a team that includes health care professionals to guide us through the various messages for our state Department of Health and our United Methodist Conference. Of utmost importance has been the health and safety of our congregation, especially those who serve in worship leadership. The Servant Leadership Team receives the recommendation and then makes a decision about the month ahead. We will be doing so again next week.
What We Don’t Think We Think
I was surprised by the number of people who participated in the class I led last Wednesday evening, looking at biases. You are welcome to participate in the next two sessions, even if you missed the first one (Wednesday nights on Zoom, January 20 and 27 from 6:30-7:30 pm). We are learning how to “love your neighbor,” recognizing there are barriers that we have not seen and have not fully understood. Contact Kami Pohl, Director of Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org to register and receive the Zoom link. (Someone said it felt good to talk with people without having to wear a mask – that’s one advantage of Zoom).
This note arrives later in the day because I had an opportunity this morning to work with one of our faith groups as they rented a truck and moved donated furniture to a new transitional housing program in Plymouth for immigrant and refugee women from Africa who have been victims of abuse. I’m proud of what they were doing on your behalf to Love Your Neighbor. Tomorrow, I will be delivering dozens of grocery gifts cards that you provided to assist families through our partner church, Iglesia Piedra Viva (IPV). Thank you for stepping into the gaps and bridging the divides as the hands of feet of Jesus.
In Christ’s love,
Please Pray with Me
Gracious God, we pray for the Holy Spirit to break through and renew Messiah United Methodist Church, unleashing a fearless, Spirit-led congregation! Empower our pastors, leaders, and everyone who walks through our doors with the contagious, miraculous, saving message of Jesus. Boldly use each of us, without limits, to reach new people and heal a broken world. Create in us a joyful heart for all that You are doing in and through us to change lives and transform the world. We pray in the precious and powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
Join Us on Sunday Online
Live stream of our Traditions service at 8:45 am and Journey contemporary worship service at 10 am CT every Sunday morning. Prior Sunday broadcasts are available on demand all week at your convenience.