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Classic Worship: 8:45 & 10 a.m.

Contemporary Worship: 11:15 a.m.

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Just a Thought or Two: One More Link

Join us for worship at First Methodist!

9:30 AM  | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist

11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater

ONE MORE LINK

It’s amazing to watch the supplies for Vacation Bible School (VBS) piling up outside the office of Ms. Alex Lamb. In February, there were just a few things stacked alongside the wall in the hallway. By early April, the small stack turned into an impressive hill of multi-colored supplies. Now, since June has rolled around the VBS “hill” has become a mountain that threatens to shut Alex off behind a towering peak.

The whole thing reminds me of snow in northwest Alaska and how it would begin in September by leaving just a small deposit of white on the ground. By the time it was Christmas, the snow would have accumulated to tower over the basketball backboards on the playground behind the school.

Walking by the VBS Mountain this week, I noticed a brightly colored chain made from links of stapled construction paper.

The chain made me think about connections.

Always connecting

When we stretched the chain out in the 3rd-floor hallway, it ran the length of the hallway and then turned the corner into the darkness. I started thinking about how God has been working to connect us to God’s self since creation. The Hebrew account of creation tells us God created the man and the woman, and then God would go looking for them late in the afternoon when the day-time air was cool. God wanted to share life with his creatures.

Since the dawn of history, God has been doing what God can to connect with us. The stars, the beauty of creation, the joy of music, the way the cosmos bends towards justice, the experience of healing hearts and healing bodies, the power of Scripture and the movement of the Spirit and of course, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus: God is working hard to put the links together and connect with us.

I think it takes work and intentionality to miss the signals of the presence of God and the love He has for us. The links, the evidence, are lying right in front of us…just like the paper chain lying on the floor.

Living links

Alex and her volunteers used construction paper to create the VBS chain. God uses people as links to connect people to God’s self. Paul, in 2nd Corinthians 5:18-20, talks about how God is trying to connect with people. Some people are running from God, some people don’t trust God, and some people are utterly indifferent to the Holy One, whose love and truth are at the center of the universe. How will God connect with them? Paul says God will often connect with people through other ordinary people—like you and me—which God uses as ambassadors.

You can be the living link that helps people connect with God.

Not only that, but you are the living link that can connect the newcomer, the stranger, the guest, to the community we call First Methodist. When you take a minute to welcome someone, when you listen to a friend or co-worker tell their story, when you share how you have stumbled into God’s grace and truth in Jesus Christ, when you show up and help a friend load their truck on moving day or serve food at a community kitchen, you are one more link.

Think of yourself as one more link in God’s love chain, helping to connect people with the God who loves them and has the power to make all things new.

You see how this works

God shows up in moments and people that sometimes surprise us. Wednesday morning, I—along with another friend from our church—showed up for the 7:30 am session of Drug Court. Our buddy—you may get to hear some of his story one day—was graduating from the Drug Court program.

The sweltering courtroom was packed.

Family members and friends stood at the back of the courtroom, and each of the five graduates was called forward, recognized, and then—if I understand this correctly— the charges against them were dismissed. You should have seen the faces of the people graduating and their family members! We were all glowing. I heard a couple stories of lives busted up and put back together.

And again, what I experienced was the power of God to make all things new. I saw firsthand the power of God’s love to bring the lost sheep home. Standing at the back of the courtroom as the stories were told, my friend and I looked at one another and shook our heads in amazement.

We were linked.

God had used that moment, the people in the room, to link us into God’s great story of redemption.

How will God use you to be a link in God’s love chain to connect all people to God’s self and the grace community we call the Church?

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Things to know…

  • Excel, our month-long stewardship burst to close a $100,000 operating budget gap, is off to a good start. By the end of this week, we will have received more than $40,000 in cash and pledges. Thanks for responding and joining so many others in helping us continue to reach out to children, youth, and young adults!
  • Join us this Sunday for worship at 9:30 (Sanctuary) and 11:15 (The Open Door). Pastor Stacee will be preaching her last sermon with us, and I know your presence and words will bless her.
  • Please join us for a pitch-in party in Bryan Park on Friday, June 16 and a Farewell Receptions for Pastor Stacee and Alex Lamb on Sunday, January 18th in both the Gathering Place and after the Open Door.
  • Remember Vacation Bible School in your prayers. VBS happens at First Methodist on this coming Monday, June 12th.
  • If you have not yet contributed to the Love Gift for Rev. Stacee Fischer Gehring and Ms. Alex Lamb, please, make your check out to the church for “Love Gift” and indicate how you wish your check to be divided.
  • Please take a moment and send a welcome card to Rev. Teri Crouse:
    Rev. Teri Crouse, Marquette Park UMC, 215 North Grand Blvd, Gary, IN 46403
    Tell her something about yourself and our church, and welcome her to Bloomington (perhaps even including a gift card to your favorite store or restaurant).

Grace and peace,

Mark Fenstermacher

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This week we’re continuing our sermon series, THE STORY. If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here.  If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.

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