Abilene Schools are closed, but the roads in town seem to be in pretty decent shape and so the church office is open until noon. The church parking lot, however, is basically one big patch of ice. Therefore, even though we’re open, I would ask you not to come in unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The church office is closed again today because Abilene Schools are closed. Some staff members will be going in because Sunday is coming on the seventh day just like it always does, but the office will be closed to the public. Please call Jenny and me on our cell phones (the numbers are on the back of your bulletins) if you need anything. Don’t worry about bothering us, we’ll be working, Sunday is coming.
This past Sunday, after a sermon by Rev. Eduardo Bousson, we collected $2245 for Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico. This is in addition to the $500 the Mission and Outreach Team had earmarked for the cause. That’s a total of $2745 in aid to be distributed through the Methodist Church in Puerto Rico. Thanks everyone!
There will be a Service of Death and Resurrection for Mary “Maxine” Fiedler on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. our colleague, Michael Tompson-DeGreef, will join Jenny and me in officiating.
Abilene Schools are closed today (Tuesday, February 20, 2018) due to the weather. This means that the church office is closed as well. I’ll be working from home, so feel free to call me on my cell phone if you need anything.
The church office will be closed tomorrow (Monday, February 19, 2018) for Presidents’ Day.
I need to update the website to show our live streaming options, but in the meantime: We (the church) will be video and audio streaming via Periscope at www.pscp.tv/AFUMC/follow. You can stream only the audio at www.kabithegeneral.com/. If you want to go old school tune into 1560 AM radio. All of this takes place at 10:30 on Sunday morning.
What follows is the reposting of a previous entry. It’s a good prayer, one that bears repeating and re-praying. I’m only sorry I have occasion to use it again.
In the face of another act of gun violence, James Martin, S.J. has shared a prayer that I find useful. I’m reprinting it here so that you can read it without the interruptions that appear on the original site.
I come before you,
after another shooting.
I am sad, God.
So I ask you
to receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers
I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.
All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God.
But I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your son expressed
when he wept over the death of
his friend Lazarus.
I am tired, God.
I’m tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue.
I’m tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change.
I’m tired of those who say that gun violence can’t be reduced.
All this makes me tired.
But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.
It’s the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles against injustice
that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples.
I am angry, God.
I’m angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this.
I’m angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.
I’m angry that these shootings happen at all.
But I know that this anger is your anger
It’s the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple,
angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in any way.
Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.
Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.
Help me see in my reactions your pushing me to do something.
Because I know this is the way you move people to action.
And I know that you desire action.
For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt.
He plunged into their lives.
So help me to answer these questions:
How can I help?
How can I fight against gun violence?
How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?
How can I help people understand that this is
an issue about life?
I am sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for the loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life.
Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.
to be compassionate,
and to act,
as your son did,
James Martin, S.J., “Sad, Tired and Angry: A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence,” America Magazine, October 02, 2017, accessed October 02, 2017, https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/10/02/sad-tired-and-angry-prayer-face-gun-violence.
A Service of Death and Resurrection for Jill Royer will be held Saturday, February 17, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. Jenny and I (John) will officiate.
The evening Ash Wednesday service this evening (February 14, 2018) will be at 5:30 p.m. and not 6:00 p.m. Nonetheless, if anyone shows up at 6:00 they will be given ashes and communion.
There’s a good column, titled “Like Religious Freedom? Wear Ashes on Wednesday” over at Red Letter Christians about practicing freedom of religion by participating in the observance Ash Wednesday. The article by Morgan Guyton, a United Methodist pastor, ends with:
Whatever else is true, people across our nation need to see Christians wearing a sign of humility and weakness to counteract the stereotypes that we are an arrogant, powerful species of people. I pray and hope that you will join us in this simple, non-confrontational means of bearing witness.
Amen and Amen. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.
First United Methodist Church’s Ash Wednesday services will be at 12:15 and
6:00 5:30 p.m. (Corrected) today (February 14, 2012). If you can’t make it in person you can watch it live at: www.pscp.tv/AFUMC/follow or replay the service later on in the week.
If you follow the link above on your phone or tablet, you’ll have to download the app and create a user account. If you use a computer, you can watch through your browser without creating an account, by simply clicking the X at the top of the window that pops up.
Morgan Guyton, “Like Religious Freedom? Wear Ashes on Wednesday!” Red Letter Christians, February 21, 2012, accessed February 14, 2018, https://www.redletterchristians.org/like-religious-freedom-wear-ashes-on-wednesday/.
Jenny and I are putting the finishing touches on the bulletin for Ash Wednesday (February
13 14, 32018). There will be two services, one over the lunch hour from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. and one in the evening from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There will be communion at the evening service.