Dear Messiah family,
So much pain. So much hurt. Lord, have mercy. Eleven months after the death of George Floyd, our region is in a similar place of hurt and pain with the death of Daunte Wright. I think we all feel the tension. We all have engaged in conversations over the past week about violence, the death of another young black man by a police officer, bias and racism in our communities, and how all of this makes us feel. Lord, have mercy on us all. I keep returning to the words of James 1:19 – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry.” I am still listening and learning and trying my best to understand. Others have experiences unlike my own, and I want to learn from them – and from you. I’m unable to pass judgment. I’ll leave that to God. But we can do something – and that is to respond to the hurt and pain.
My colleague, Richard Zeck, serves as senior pastor of Brooklyn UMC in Brooklyn Center. Earlier this week, he made an appeal for help:
- Prayer, yes, but also more than prayer…
- Brooklyn Center is a food desert, especially now with the destruction of Walmart. He’s asking for food assistance through their community food shelves. Many of you have already responded with food that will be delivered this afternoon. If you continue to bring food to the church, we will get it delivered.
- He also asked for financial support to help local businesses recover from the destruction of their businesses (many of them black and brown owned businesses without adequate insurance). We responded with a check for $5,000 to assist. If you would like to assist, mark your gift for Brooklyn Center.
- And if you feel called to do so, he also seeks persons ready to stand guard nights to protect businesses, apartments complexes and homes. If you wish to respond to this call, please contact me (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
We can and will continue to respond to the hurt and pain while also continuing to listen, to learn, to understand, and to envision a world that God desires for us all.
We will conclude a two-part series that addresses this timely question: If God is So Good, Why is There So Much Suffering in this World? Last week, I looked at the question of suffering and how it leads some people to turn away from God. We looked at several assumptions and unmet expectations. This week, I will focus on how God works and what faith can do for us. I will share a story that shows how even one person can have a great impact for good in this world.
Our worship will begin with another MGN (Messiah’s Good News) in which you will meet several persons who became members of Messiah Church this week. Over the past year, we have been growing and reaching new people as well as serving in our community.
Kevin Ward, the executive director of Interfaith Outreach, provided a list of resources for those experiencing trauma as well as resources to help parents in talking to their children about the death of Duante Wright and other acts of violence.
Seeking Your Help
Next week, I will be taking my annual sermon planning retreat to develop worship themes for the next year. There are certain themes that resonate in my life, but I’m not just preaching to me. I always want what you hear in worship to be relevant to all of our lives. So if you have a few moments to send me an email (at email@example.com) in response to these questions, it will help me in my planning:
- What are the issues facing your family and/or our communities that challenge your faith or lead you to wonder how to respond with faith?
- What questions do you have about the Bible or faith?
- What issues are your friends or family facing who do not go to church? What barriers keep them from church or keep them from seeing that the church/Christian faith is relevant to their lives?
Next week, our Servant Steering Team will consider whether to resume in-person worship for the month of May. It is a challenging time as spring arrives, and there is an intense longing to return to life as it was. The vaccinations continue, but so does the spread of the virus. One of our members went to the emergency room of a local hospital for a non-COVID issue and could not be admitted because the beds were filled with COVID patients. I hope you will seek out and accept a vaccination when it becomes available to you. It is our best way to overcome the spread of this virus.
I hope you can worship with us this weekend. May you find a way to be a blessing to those around you.
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.