From the Pastor’s Desk, 1/10/22

    When attending Annual Conference (pre-pandemic), Tammy participates in the blood drive, if possible. Frequently, a tee-shirt is given away as a gift for participating, and Tammy usually gets a size that fits me. So, I am the beneficiary of her benevolence. Those who receive her blood are too.

   The tee-shirts, of course, are imprinted with advertising for the local blood-drive organization and include a catchy phrase to alert others about the benefit of giving blood. One particular tee-shirt received has imprinted on the front in big bold letters, OUT FOR BLOOD, with the word “blood” in red. On the back, in small print, inconspicuously, is the name of the blood drive organization.

   I went to the post office one day wearing this tee-shirt. As I stood at the counter being waited on by the usually friendly employee, I noticed her demeanor being somewhat different than usual. I think I caught her momentarily glance at my tee-shirt. That is when her usual outgoing personality changed. She didn’t smile much and spoke only to ask a question or state her usual pitch about the survey at the bottom of the receipt. Otherwise, she was reserved and seemingly disturbed.

   Thinking about how unusual the encounter at the counter was, it dawned on me that maybe the message emblazoned in my tee-shirt was the problem. Without proper context, OUT FOR BLOOD can have weird connotations. Did the post office employee think I was some kind of enraged goof ball waiting  to pick a fight if someone looked at me cross-eyed or said something I didn’t like? Was she concerned that I would go off on some crazy tangent if she inadvertently did something to cross me? Maybe she was simply having a rotten day and I’m blowing out of proportion the whole scenario, but, I have never worn that tee-shirt publicly since.

   Words matter, even those displayed on a tee-shirt. If the words we choose are heard or observed out of context, then the good meaning we intended may have consequential outcomes. It is important to choose wisely.

   Abraham Lincoln was a prolific letter writer. A number of the letters he wrote were never sent. Lincoln let the letters simmer in a desk drawer, and after giving careful thought about their content, he ultimately realized it would be best if the recipients did not receive his remarks.

   Recently, Tammy and I were engaged in a conversation in which I could have responded very quickly to one of her comments, which reviewing in hindsight, would have escalated the conversation to an argumentative pitch. I walked away for a few moments and gathered my wits to respond more calmly and with a greater degree of diplomacy. The conversation developed much more amicably at that point. I’d love to tell you that this is always my response but, quite frankly, I all too often reply quickly and curtly with some of the aforementioned consequential outcomes. Thankfully, once in my life, I thought before I spoke.

   Words matter. When and how we say or display them matters. To think before speaking or wearing a tee-shirt, matters.

Recap: Worship, Jan. 9, 2022                                  

   The scripture text around which the worship service centered was 2 Samuel 12:1-15, the story of the prophet Nathan confronting King David about his unacceptable actions involving Uriah and Bathsheba.  

The service emphasized the importance of caring for those who are vulnerable and elevating their dignity. Those in powerful positions have a tendency to think of their own well-being at the expense of those unable to exert power. Nathan’s efforts are a reminder that the powerful need to understand the consequences of their actions for the good of all.

   Songs and videos used in the service may be accessed using the following links:

Prelude in C Major (Bach) – J.S. Bach – Prelude in C Major – YouTube (Intended to use this in the service but inadvertently skipped past it.)

Lord, Speak to Me – Lord Speak to Me, That I May Speak – OUMC Choir – YouTube

Disney Princess Advice – The Wisest Disney Princess Advice! | Disney Princess – YouTube

Beauty for Brokenness – Beauty for Brokenness (God of the Poor) – YouTube

Worship Services January 2022

   The Leadership Team recently engaged in conversation regarding continuing to meet in-person for Sunday worship services in view of heightened pandemic concerns. Consensus reached was to continue in-person services noting the importance of following helpful pandemic protocols such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing, sanitizing, and washing hands. Also, if you are not feeling well or have been in contact with anyone with COVID, please refrain from attending in-person, and if you have the capability, connect via Zoom. We are continuing to provide the Zoom option with all in-person worship gatherings. The Zoom link is included here (also above in the opening article) for January through March services. If in-person services need to be canceled due to inclement winter weather or state mandated pandemic protocols, information about such changes will share using the prayer chain and other means as needed.

   January through February worship services will follow themes from the SHINE curriculum. SHINE curriculum is produced by Brethren Press. Biblical stories encountered during worship include Nathan confronting David, Esther saving her people, proclaiming jubilee, a son returns home, Zacchaues making amends, and more. We will spend two Sunday’s on each theme.

Topic: Worship Services January – March 2022

Time: Jan. through Mar. 2022 each Sunday 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

 Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81682833350?pwd=SXJJTktjK01mYXNvdmN5OXJqajN4UT09

Meeting ID: 816 8283 3350

Passcode: 006979

If joining by phone only:

Dial by your location

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 816 8283 3350

Passcode: 006979

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