Already Wednesday—much done, much to do, a few things to plan for:
Youth Lead: this Sunday our U.M. Youth Group leads both worship services, with talent, music, wit and a custom-crafted skit titled “Who Is My Neighbor?” Think you know that parable? Come try this updated version! (Warning: includes the use of hats.)
Hurricane Leads to Pet-Friendly Church: http://www.sgaumc.org/advnewsdetail/valdosta-first-umc-opens-doors-to-hurricane-evacuees-and-their-pets-6323759
Mission Happening: Nanci Paulson is the host of this weekend’s Mission Fair in Brooks Hall. Saturday 10am-noon and again between Sunday services, visit the wide variety of information and gift tables to see what a difference members are making locally and around the world (and get a jump start on your Christmas gift list.) Got neighbors? Invite them along.
18 Percent to Christmas: a quick run of the calculator shows that over the next ten weeks, our Sunday offerings need to stretch by 18% to match the giving we budgeted for this year. On a weekly pledge of $25, that would add $4.50—about two large coffees + a Rolling Pin apple fritter (one is enough for two anyway!) But mostly it would be coming current on existing pledges and giving. We can do this.
Downer Week / Dance View
This Sunday we’ll have flowers on the altar for both my father’s and my mother-in-law’s birthdays. Many of you have met Doris and made her feel totally welcomed (thank you)! Dad has been gone four years now, along with my Mom, just a few weeks apart, so his birthday already had me feeling a little melancholy.
But it ramped up sharply last night when the second of two of my closest friends lost his mother, making that two deaths within just the past six days. Both moms had been in hospice care, so it wasn’t unexpected—but no matter what you do or think you know, nothing can prepare you for the singular event of losing your mother.
“Some things cannot be fixed, only carried.”
One of the ways we stay in shape for such carrying is to stay in touch with one another: even though my one friend is 1300 miles away, we stay in close touch. It meant that when he called from the emergency room following his mother’s stroke, there was no need for catch-up banter: this time it was my turn, and I could get right in and help with the carrying…
That’s why I miss those who are not here Sunday mornings; it’s how we stay in touch, so when it’s time to help with the carrying, the heavy lifting that comes sooner or later, we can grab a hand, open our arms, and lift one another up. Simple as that.
God can only embrace us through one another:
let’s stay close to God, and to one another.
Peace, pastor gary
Postscript: We took a little training ride this morning up along the coast, and while admiring the islands across the waves, caught some dolphin action close to shore. Usually they’re just swimming, and you watch for the gentle arc of their dorsal fins. But today, there were 4-5 plainly horsing around: we stopped to watch, and saw them gleefully jumping out of the water—once, two sailed totally up in the air, clear of the water, in unison like Astaire and Rogers! We were lifted up, for the rest of the day. “This is the day the Lord has made…”