Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
Each day as I read and watch the news, I see clear evidence that alongside the beauty and goodness in our world is brokenness and pain. Wednesday’s murder of a reporter and cameraman in Roanoke, Virginia and this morning’s story of a truck driver who abandoned his truck along an Austrian highway leaving 71 Syrian refugees to die of suffocation are stark and tragic reminders.
All of us find these horrific acts repugnant but as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote, “The line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” The choice between doing the right thing and succumbing to what we know we shouldn’t do is a decision we face multiple times every day. We all hear voices in our head and heart. Cartoonists jokingly picture them as an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. We can listen to the voice that tries to rationalize “It’s only one time” or “I deserve this because …” or we can listen to another voice that speaks to us and leads us to truth, love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. That voice is the Holy Spirit.
Will you take a few moments and join me in prayer? Here’s a prayer, originally sent out via email after the Charleston, S.C. shootings a few weeks ago, that I posted on Facebook this week:
Lord God of liberation,
you saw your people as slaves in Egypt
and delivered them from captivity.
You see works of violence and weep.
Relieve the suffering of all people, grant them your peace that surpasses understanding and a renewed faith in your protection and care.
Protect all people from the violence of others, keep all people safe from the weapons of hate,
and restore us all to tranquility and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (adapted from the Book of Worship)
At worship on Sunday, we will have our Fifth Sunday Hymn Sing, and the worship service will be full of some of our favorite hymns. Come join us as we lift our voices to our magnificent Lord!
Sunday is also the last Sunday before the college football season kicks off, so all of our favorite teams are 0-0 and technically still in the running for the national championship. Each of you is invited to come dressed wearing your favorite school’s logos or colors. I’ll definitely be wearing my Pirate purple!
On Sunday, we’re also continuing our new sermon series entitled @Work. From the beginning of time, when life was perfect, God gave us work to do. Work is something we were created to do. Work is on our minds at the beginning of each day. In this series, we will be talking about how we are to understand the work we do as not just work, but something God calls us to do. Whether you’re a student, homemaker, part-time or full-time worker, unemployed, retired, or any combination of the above, each of us will see how our everyday life is the primary way to live out our faith and how we are called to be @work for God.
Our sermon series coincides with our celebration of Labor Day, so on the Sunday before Labor Day, Sept. 6, we’re inviting each of you to come to church in whatever attire you wear for work. Whether that means scrubs, mechanic’s overalls, gardening clothes, uniforms, or business attire, let’s come to church wearing what we wear for work. If you’re retired, wear what you wore when you were working every day – let’s celebrate the jobs we do as the callings they are from God and as the opportunities they are to share the light of Christ!
We post announcements of our upcoming sermon series and activities, along with the GPS and other items, on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cedar-Grove-UMC/161622617284308. Please go to this page and “Like” us so that you can keep up with the latest announcements. Then, when you do see a new posting to the Facebook page, share it on your timeline. This is an easy, non-confrontational way of inviting and sharing the opportunities for worship and fellowship at CGUMC with all your Facebook friends!
As you are shopping, please pick up some extra school supplies and bring them to the church. We will use these supplies for our collection for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes which we will be preparing later this year. We are continuing to move toward our goal of 144 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Your donations will bless children both in our area and throughout the world! Thanks for your support of these mission efforts of our church!
Bring your canned goods and other nonperishable food items each week and drop them in our food collection baskets in the narthex. Your gifts are taken to the food pantry at OCIM in Hillsborough, where they will be distributed to families throughout northern Orange County. Thank you for touching the lives of others through this wonderful mission!
You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:
I’m looking forward to being in worship with you on Sunday!