Pastoral Post 3.17.2017

We “sprang forward” last Sunday into Daylight Savings Time and landed in the middle of a snowstorm! The benign winter has suddenly decided to hang on tight as the first official day of spring approaches. Never do I like to cancel services, but it seemed wise to cancel the early services and Sunday School (We always cancel Sunday School when we cancel early services.)  I think we made the right call. When Susan and I drive into town about 9:30, the streets  were completely clear and the parking lot and sidewalks had been cleared. We had 140 brave souls in 11:00 worship, including 30 in the choir—kudos to them for showing up and for making adjustments. It was a good day, despite the cancelations. We missed those of you who could not make it, though, and look forward to having everyone back in place and on our regular schedule this Sunday! At this point, the forecast looks promising.

We are now 2 weeks into the season of Lent. I hope you’re enjoying the Lenten devotions as much as I am. I’m reminded each year we do this of the multi-talented, knowledgeable, and insightful people we have throughout the church! I hope you’re reading the Matthew passages, too, so that we’ll all read the entire Gospel together, finishing on Easter Monday.

Lent is a time for prayer and study. It’s also a time for sacrificial giving. What are you “giving up” that might help fund a gift to missions? We have a couple of upcoming opportunities for such gifts.

Sunday, March 26, is UMCOR Sunday. This was formerly called One Great Hour of Sharing. The name has been changed,, but the offering has not. The offering goes to support the operating expenses of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, so that 100% of offerings made through UMCOR to specific disaster responses goes to direct aid. Mark your check “UMCOR.”

We have another mission project on April 2. Stop Hunger Now has also had a name change and is now known as Rise Against Hunger. We’ll pack meals for hungry people, just as we’ve done many times, in an exciting intergenerational effort involving children and adults of all ages. Plan to be part of this meaningful mission event. Monetary contributions are also necessary to purchase the ingredients for the meals. Mark your check “Rise Against Hunger.”

Of course, it’s always appropriate to make an extra sacrificial gift to the general budget of the church. As I said in a recent sermon, the general budget is the financial engine that makes everything else happen and without which nothing could happen. Money given to our general budget is money spent in missions and in support of programs, worship services, and other experiences that change lives.

This Sunday we’ll consider another passage unique to Matthew’s gospel, two little parables in Matthew 13:44-46. Jesus says the kingdom is like finding a treasure in a field or a pearl of great price. The joy of discovery!  Let’s see what we can discover together.

See you Sunday on the Lenten Journey!


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