The Least of These

As I read the news, I keep thinking about the time when Jesus said:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” — Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV)

What we do (or don’t do) for “the least of these” matters. I didn’t want “the least of these” to remain anonymous in this post, I wanted to name names, but there are too many. I’ll just name the one most on my mind: Jakelin Caal Maquin. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. If you want to help feed the hungry, the Little Free Pantry would welcome your donations. I’m going to start putting some water in there as well.

Voices: Keep Going

“If you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.” — Harriet Tubman [1]

[1] Harriet Tubman as quoted in David P. Gushee and Colin Holtz, Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press, a Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2018), Kindle, 105.

Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Hymns

We’re already well into Advent, but here’s the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Hymn Schedule for 2018-2019:

December 2, 2018 — First Sunday of Advent
202 People Look East
3047 God Almighty, We Are Waiting
211 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vss 1-4)
196 Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

December 9, 2018 — Second Sunday of Advent
206 I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
234 O Come, All Ye Faithful
211 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vss 1, 5-6)
203 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

December 16, 2018 — Third Sunday of Advent
238 Angels We Have Heard on High
249 There’s a Song in the Air
2095 Star Child (Vss 1-4)
216 Lo, How a Rose Er Blooming

December 23, 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
229 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory
198 My Soul Gives Glory to My God
219 What Child is This

December 24, 2017 — Christmas Eve
240 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
246 Joy to the World
217 Away in a Manger
239 Silent Night

December 30, 2018 — First Sunday after Christmas Day
196 Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus*
227 The Friendly Beasts
230 O Little Town of Bethlehem
221 In the Bleak Midwinter
3052 God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
228 He is Born, the Holy Child
218 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
219 What Child is This*
251 Go Tell it on the Mountain

January 6, 2018 — Epiphany of the Lord
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory*
237 Sing We Now of Christmas, vss 1, 3, 4, 5
254 We Three Kings
245 The First Noel

*Indicates a repeat hymn.

A Dangerous Book

NPR has a story about a Bible intended for slaves and published in 1807 that “excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.” According to an associate curator at the museum where said Bible is on display, “About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing.” [1] The existence of such a version of the Bible is a reminder that the Bible is a dangerous book. That’s why slave owners insisted that so much of it removed, it’s why so much of it is still ignored today.


[1] Michel Martin, “Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion,” NPR, December 09, 2018, , accessed December 10, 2018,

Children and Youth Christmas Pageant

This Sunday (December 9, 2018), the children and youth will be presenting the Get the Story Straight Christmas Pageant at both worship services. 

The cast and crew are as follows:

Mary — Emily Vinduska
Sheep — Carson Woodworth and Cameron Vinduska
Narrator — Jensen Woodworth
Joseph — Jackson Green
Angels — Liz Collins, Audrey Unruh, Yui Nishimura, Anna Holt, Cora Vinduska
Shepherds — Hailey Vinduska and Ethan Gonzales
Magi — Eyler Holt, Jack Hunter, Braden Adams
King Herod — Miller Unruh
Slides — Tyler Green

Hope to see you there.

Hat and Mitten Tree

This year the Mission and Outreach Team is again sponsoring a “Hat and Mitten Tree” in the narthex (lobby). We’re collecting hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, underwear, and socks in all sizes from pre-k to high school senior. (Underwear and socks go under the tree!) We’ll turn these items over to the Abilene School System.

Voices: Not What God Wants to Happen

“One of the greatest contributions of the Wesleyan movement is the idea that not everything that happens is what God wants to happen.” — Jeff Gannon [1]

Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes the reason is that we human beings are sinful, stupid, or both. We must not blame God for our mistakes.

[1] Rev. Jeff Gannon of Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas at a Salina District Large Church Gathering, October 13, 2018. Meeting Notes.