JOIN US FOR WORSHIP
THIS SUNDAY, DEC 4th, 2016
8:45 A.M. TRADITIONAL WORSHIP IN THE SANCTUARY
(traditional worship with a more intimate atmosphere, includes special music and sermon)
10:00 A.M. TRADITIONAL WORSHIP IN THE SANCTUARY
(traditional worship with special music and preaching, including a children’s moment)
11:15 A.M. THE OPEN DOOR AT BUSKIRK-CHUMLEY THEATER
(contemporary, informal worship with preaching and children’s moment)
People on the Road
One of our family stories has to do with something that happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when we were on our way from Indianapolis to Harrisburg. I was five years old and my brother was three when our car ran out of gas.
I remember Mom not being pleased about this at all. My Dad, a young surgical resident, stood along the road waiting for a ride. A stranger stopped, offered our Dad a ride to the next rest stop where he could fill up a 5-gallon can, and they drove off.
We sat there by the highway for nearly three hours. Finally, when our Mom was nearly frantic, my Dad showed up with a can full of gasoline, and we were headed for home.
This is a season when people are on the road. Many people are on the move. And there are often complications.
Most trips involve complications.
Things seldom go as planned.
This time of year the evening newscasts regularly tell of travelers trapped in airports when a major airline’s reservation system breaks down. We see images of people waiting in lines to go through TSA. There are shots of snow-covered interstates where travelers have spent the night sleeping on a truck stop floor because the plows can’t keep up and the highway ahead has been closed.
The funny thing is, we usually are surprised when a journey involves complications. When we fail to make a connection through Atlanta Hartsfield, or we come upon an unexpected detour between Toledo and Detroit, or our four-year-old suddenly gets carsick while we’re in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, we are often irritated at the complication.
The thing is, though, most trips involve complications.
The real surprise for travelers is when a trip goes exactly as planned.
Other Kinds of Complications
The truth is life is full of complications.
Some of you may be in the middle of a life detour: a relationship has come apart, the required hours for your new supervisor position interferes with your parenting intentions, or the biopsy results weren’t what you expected.
There are times when the complications are good things. A young couple in our church went through years of fertility challenges. In despair, they asked the church to pray. After they had three children in five years, they asked the church to stop praying for more babies.
God on the Road
There are many reasons why I love the story of the birth of Jesus, but my favorite is about the road trip. Because of a census mandated by the government, a very pregnant Mary and her husband, Joseph, traveled from the north country of Galilee down south to Judea. It wasn’t an easy journey. There were complications: the crowds, the rough roads, and the lack of available rooms.
I find it compelling that we have a God who comes to us in the mess and complications of a road trip. This is how God often operates in the Bible. Scripture is full of road trips: Abram and Sarai head west; the family of Joseph (of Technicolor fame) goes from Canaan to Egypt; Hagar and her baby run into the wilderness; Moses goes back into Egypt; the Hebrew people spend forty years finding their way across the wilderness.
Matthew 2:13-15 tells us that because of the threat presented by Herod, the holy family escaped to Egypt in the middle of the night.
The story of God is a series of road trips.
We have a God who knows the road.
We have a God who works in the middle of complications.
We have a God who brings blessing and new life in the middle of unfamiliar surroundings.
I want to remind you of this because when you are in the middle of a detour, you can start to think nothing will ever again be good.
People on the road are often surprised God is out there with them…doing beautiful and good things in the midst of the mess.
Join us this weekend for the 2nd Sunday in Advent as we continue celebrating “GOD’S NEW STORY.” Pastor Stacee is preaching. We’ll also welcome Gwyn Richards back to the Chancel Choir after his late summer/early fall leave.
Remember, Sunday, December 18th, at 4 o’clock we will have our wonderful, amazing, traditional children’s Christmas Pageant. Following the Pageant, we will have our 1st Annual Chili Cook-Off. We invite you to bring a crock pot of your favorite chili recipe to share! There will be voting involved and competition will be stiff so, cook to impress! Please, bring your chili crock pot to The Great Hall.
It’s a wonderful time to invite your friends to Christmas Eve Candlelight worship at First Methodist. This year we are offering a Family-friendly Service at 5 pm, a Service of Carols & Lessons at 8 pm, and a Service of Carols & Communion at 10 p.m.
On Christmas Day there will be a single, combined worship celebration at 10 am.
The 1st Annual Bloomington Christmas Sing-Along at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater attracted nearly 600 people! Over $1,400 was donated to the Interfaith Winter Shelter while children created 150 Christmas cards for the Shelter guests.
Several familiar Bloomington faces (including many from First Methodist and The Open Door!) were leading this joyous, wonderful, amazing evening with wall-to-wall kids and adults celebrating and singing along on songs from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and to “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night.” Thanks to Brandon Pfeiffer, Travis Jeffords, Pastor Stacee, The 9DZ Band, and so many others for being involved and making this wonderful evening come to life! Wow!
Grace and peace,