Pastoral Note – January 31, 2015

Dear Friends,

How are you?

A favorite writer of mine writes about characters who struggle through “the mixedness and muddle of human life.” While they search for meaning, or just pretend not to care, they encounter the tough realities of the human condition — failure, rejection, tragedy, guilt, and sin of all sorts.

But the message Frederick Buechner leaves us with is that despite our human imperfection — and the difficult struggles and life challenges that result — there is always hope through the grace of God.

“The Gospel is bad news before it is good news,” he says.

In order to demonstrate the depth of the grace of God, Buechner tells stories that include great despair, emptiness, dysfunctional families and relationships, and other fallibilities of humankind. But despite our faults, God is there too, intermingled in it all.

On this the last day of the first month of 2015, my prayer is that we all receive the gift of God’s grace today. May we receive the gift of knowing that God is with us in the midst of our stuff.

I have news to share that is both great and sad. Kathy Hilton, our church office administrator for the past 7 years, got a new fulltime job as the Legal Aide for our State Representative. This is a tremendous opportunity for her and her family and we are so excited for her. Kathy has always said that her work at the church was her ministry. In my time working with her, she has demonstrated that again and again, going the extra mile to serve the needs of this church community. She will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. Kathy will remain with us in a limited capacity as we transition and hire a new church office administrator. Therefore, until further notice, you can still contact and work with Kathy for your ministerial needs. If you know someone who might be interested in this part-time position, please refer them to the job description here, and have them submit a resume to sprc@frankfortumc.org or mail to Frankfort UMC 215 Linden Drive, Frankfort, IL 60423 Attn: SPRC.

According to forecasts, the biggest snowfall of the year is headed our way. We have not made a determination whether to cancel our Sunday worship service yet. In the event of inclement weather, please check our facebook page, twitter feed, or our website for information about our church activities.

We are beginning a new sermon series on Life Stewardship. As part of our overall focus on the theme of Worship, we will explore worship that extends into practice in our lives. In worship, the barriers between ourselves and God and others come down. We are given the chance to reorient ourselves and reground ourselves in a perspective based on humility and gratitude. Thus worship opens us to the blessings of trust, comfort, and the peace that passes understanding. So, what are the practical ways worship extends into our lives? We begin exploring the answers with a lesson on fasting tomorrow.

Here are the scripture texts for you to read and meditate in preparation for our upcoming lesson:

Daniel 1

5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. 8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. 9 Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. 10 The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” 14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

Matthew 6

16 And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Peace,

Pastor Ken

FYI

  • Confirmation Class is scheduled to meet tomorrow from 10:30-11:30am in my office. Our topic will be “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” p.40-43 in the Student Book. We are gathering at Tracey Lazzo’s home this evening at 6:30pm for “2015 Planning Meeting of the Minds of the Kids and Parents.”
  • Coat Drive – We are inviting you to share some love throughout the month of February by dropping off at church gently used or new coats, hats, gloves, and scarves. They will be donated to the Joliet Daybreak Homeless Shelter.
  • Lenten Study – Sign up for our upcoming Lenten study is located in the church library.