Worship with us this Sunday
8:45 AM & 10 AM | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist
11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater
OPEN YOUR EYES…
It’s shocking, really. Every time I pull into our driveway and see the bright yellow of the daffodils clustered near our porch, I find myself wondering how anything can be such a shockingly vivid yellow.
One of the interesting things about spring is each day brings something new. One day the redbuds are in boring winter gray and the next day they have changed to pink. One week the forsythia bushes are nearly invisible… nondescript and the next week they shout their presence to the world, in all their yellow glory. One day the dogwoods look half alive, and the next day they line the streets with blossoms which take our breath away. Each and every day seems to bring something new. One day a creek is nearly empty, a muddle trail across the forest floor, then after a spring shower it is full with water dancing over rocks which lower, ledge by ledge, to the ground below.
A reminder to be alert
In the spring nature refuses to let us take her for granted. It is almost as if God is tapping us on the shoulder saying, “Look at this! Isn’t the music of that stream amazing, and listen to the hollow notes of the woodpecker high in a nearby tree!”
Walking along the edge of Lake Monroe the other evening, I noticed small purple flowers growing up among the rough and untended gravel beds near a boat ramp. The wind was cold but I smiled as I leaned over. “If you hadn’t looked down,” I told myself, “you would have missed their purple gift growing in such an unexpected, rough and rocky place.”
A deeper beauty
Could it be that the vivid yellows, pinks, reds, the tender young spring-green of leaves, the sound of woodpeckers and spring’s full streams, the smell of damp dirt nurturing daffodils and tulips; all this beauty of spring is reminding us to keep our eyes open to a deeper beauty… a deeper Presence?
This week I read much of the 24th chapter of Luke to people gathered for a funeral. Some of you may know the story: after the bitter disappointment of the crucifixion and the mysterious rumors about an empty tomb, two followers of Jesus are walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus.
As they talk about the life of Jesus and the events of that week, a stranger joins them on the road. The stranger asks what they are talking about, and so they tell him about Jesus. The stranger helps them understand the Bible passages that pointed to the coming of the Messiah and in the evening he joins the two for supper. The stranger blesses and breaks the bread, and in that moment the two travelers recognize their traveling companion as Jesus.
“You’ve got to keep your eyes open,” it seems to me God is often saying to us. You’ve got to keep your eyes open to beauty. You’ve got to keep your eyes open to joy. You’ve got to keep your eyes open to love.
You’ve got to keep your eyes open so you won’t miss the stranger or immigrant who needs to be welcomed, the sick friend who needs to be visited, the homeless neighbor who needs shelter. You’ve got to keep your eyes open because you never know when the risen Christ is going to join you on the road.
Sometimes God shows up with fireworks and choirs of angels. Often, though, God shows up like small, nearly invisible purple flowers which grow in the untended, rocky ground near a boat ramp on a cold spring evening.
Spring may be one of the ways God reminds us to keep our eyes open… not only to beauty but to God’s healing, comforting, life-giving Presence.
Invite your friends to join us for worship during Holy Week. We will gather for worship on Palm Sunday at 8:45, 10 and 11:15 (The Open Door). There will be a Maundy Thursday Communion and Foot-washing Service at 7 pm. Please, note the Good Friday Community Service at First United will begin at 12:05. For the first time, First Methodist will offer a 30-minute Easter Vigil in our Courtyard (off East 4th Street) with a fire, a time of scripture, prayers and a brief thought, and then we will process through the Washington Street entrance into the sanctuary with the Easter Candle.
Easter Sunday services will be at 8:30 and 10 in the Sanctuary (the Chancel Choir will bless services with music), and The Open Door will be at 11:15.
Have you ever wanted to know the stories and great themes of the Bible better? The Sunday following Easter at First Methodist, we will begin a 33-week sermon series titled The Story.
If you are in a small group or would like to begin a small book, you can go on-line and order a participant’s guide for The Story. Also, you can go to your bookstore or order online and get your own copy of The Story (Hodder & Stoughton). The great stories of the Bible are told… as stories!
We’ll have fun over the next six months. You and your small group or Sunday school class can follow along… watch for more information about The Story!
REMEMBER TO BE PRAYING FOR, AND SETTING ASIDE,
YOUR GIFT FOR OUR LENTEN/EASTER OFFERING
TO SUPPORT THE BUILDING OF A NEW PARSONAGE
FOR THE KOREAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH ON EAST 3RD.
If you missed the announcement, read more about it here.
God is so good, and it is a blessing to be one of your pastors!
Grace and peace,