Weekly Greeting: May 28

Dear parish,

Last Sunday, we reflected on Jesus’ words in John 14, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” Yet on Tuesday, we watched the opposite of peace pierce the nation’s heart at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. I wish I could say this Memorial weekend is like no other, but sadly, it is like too many others. Too many innocents lost. Too many parents grieving. Too many tears shed, candles lighted, moments of silence observed, pledges of change promised…

We may have different views of what that ‘change’ must be, but we all agree on one thing: this ‘Ground Hog Day pattern’ of national tragedy is unacceptable. Jesus’ earthly ministry was devoted to healing: cleansing the leper, restoring sight to the blind, making the lame walk, delivering the troubled, forgiving the sinner. After rising from death and anchoring the Easter miracle in the hearts of followers, the one piece of ‘unfinished business’ Jesus took care of was restoring his relationship with Peter. In life, death, and life beyond death, Jesus healed the brokenness he encountered.

And that’s what we will seek to do tomorrow at our services of worship. Yes, we will honor Ascension Sunday, remembering Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit as he ascended into heaven. Yes, we will memorialize those who have died, in military and civilian service to others. And yes, we will prayerfully intercede for our hurting world. But I also trust that we will lean into the healing Jesus offers.

During congregational prayer, in the context of conversation with God, I will invite those present to share with God what we are feeling–not to make speeches or cast blame–but to name our sorrow, frustrations, fears, pain, and grief. It is my hope that we will move toward healing by sharing this ‘prayer-hug’ from God, the One who made us, as well as each of those precious nineteen children, and the martyred educators who lost their lives while trying to shape a better future for our world.

A few reminders:

   Empire Grove Sunday Night Vesper Services begin 5/29, 7 pm

   Due to a wedding on 6/4, our men’s fellowship breakfast will be postponed to Saturday, June 18th, 7:30 am

   Brief meeting on fall Confirmation in Cherie’s education office following 10 am worship tomorrow

   Celebration of Life for Grace Libby at UMCA, Sunday, 6/5 at 11:30 am

   United Women of Faith (formerly UMW) Tea, UMCA, 6/8, 2 pm

   Celebration of District Superintendent Karen Munson, UMCA, 6/17, 6 pm

   Celebrating Judy Kuhn’s retirement after 50+ years as church organist, Sunday, UMCA, 6/26, 10 am worship

   VBS, June 28-30

Live in God’s grace,

Pastor Steve Bascom, UMC of Auburn