A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR
A letter from Bishop Devadhar for January
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Epiphany is the manifestation of God’s power in the midst of history. It is not a one-time happening but an ongoing activity of the divine in the midst of creation. Psalm 8 tells of the Creator crowning mortals with glory and honor, of making them little less than God. Paul reminds the people of Corinth, “. . . there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”. (I Corinthians 12:4,7). The power and the gifts are given to make manifest the Spirit of God.
I write this letter as joyful news is breaking that the first batch of a Coronavirus vaccine is ready for distribution. Thanks be to God for researchers and scientists who worked tirelessly and with great dedication to develop the vaccine, those who took proper care and precautions to ensure that the vaccine is safe, those who will transport it across the country and the globe, those who will administer it, and the countless others who are making this miracle possible.
God is manifested in the concrete, the physical, the material. God appears when a variety of gifts are exercised in concert with others for the common good. It is for this purpose that God made mortals little less than God.
Is the ability to stop a ravaging virus not a manifestation of God’s divine activity? Is the creation of a safe vaccine not the result of each one exercising the Spirit’s gifts for the common good? Is the caring and the giving and the sacrifice of front line workers whom we have all witnessed not an Epiphany of God in our midst?
I have reflected on the many services, past and present, that have contributed to the development of a body of knowledge, to the technology, and to the expertise that made the creation and distribution of a vaccine possible.
One small example is the story of Frederick W. Smith as found at https://www.fedex.com/en-us/about/history.html. “In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper that invented an industry and changed what’s possible. In the paper, he laid out the logistical challenges facing pioneering firms in the information technology industry. Most airfreight shippers relied on passenger route systems, but those didn’t make economic sense for urgent shipments, Smith wrote. He proposed a system specifically designed to accommodate time-sensitive shipments such as medicine, computer parts, and electronics. Smith’s professor apparently didn’t see the revolutionary implications of his thesis, and the paper received just an average grade.”
Today we realize how important Smith’s single contribution is for the distribution of the newly approved vaccine.
This year marks the 117th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ invention of the airplane. As you probably know, their clergy father discouraged his sons from wasting time on this invention. All these years later, the aerospace industry is crucial to delivering vaccines in vast numbers around the globe.
Shortly we will be celebrating Epiphany. After a difficult year, we may be stepping into 2021 with skepticism, fear, and anxiety. However, we can enter the New Year with hope and optimism if we remember that we are precious in the sight of the One who created us, that we are each given gifts of the Spirit for the common good, and that we are called to exercise those gifts in ways that manifest the Divine presence.
Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Blessed New Year!
In Christ's love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
who created us and
crowned us with glory and honor,
who made us in your image,
who gave us gifts of the Spirit—
we have come this far by faith
and by gifts of many who have
employed them for the common good.
We are thankful!
for the times we withhold the
gifts you have given to each of us
for thinking of ourselves as powerless
and for abdicating our responsibility
as co-creators with you,
Majestic God, enfold us in your love;
Fill us with the compassion of Christ;
Move us with the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit!
Covenant Renewal Service Sunday for Jan 10th
In 1775, John Wesley introduced a covenant service as an important part of spiritual life in the Methodist Societies. This renewal service was a time for the Methodists to gather annually in a time of self-examination, reflection, and dedication, wholly giving up themselves and renewing covenant with God. Repentance through confession and commitment was a key focus of the service, demanding humility from those willing to submit themselves to the dynamic words stated within the liturgy.
According to Wesley’s journal, though the covenant renewal service was held on various occasions throughout the year, by the end of his life, the service was observed typically on or the Sunday nearest January 1st. The covenant renewal service is a practice that continues in churches and Christian communities today, often near the beginning of the new year. It has undergone many revisions and adaptations, but its purpose as an evocative ceremony of commitment to ongoing discipleship and Christ-like character has always remained intact.
our prayer is for this worship service to be a means of grace for the church, bringing renewal in the hearts and lives of God’s children, freely giving everything to God’s pleasure and disposal.
If you visit the link below or dial this number by your phone, you can join the worship service at 10am
. Pastor Nami working from home ( Tue-Fri, 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm) - available to reach out phone call (442-6314) or email ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
.Kathy, Administration Assistant working in the church office ( only twice a week, Tue and Fri usually 11am-2pm, it can be flexible week by week, call to church office (445-5918, email@example.com) to make sure her working hours
Pledge envelope is ready to pick up
Pledge Envelope for the new year is ready to pick up at the church. It’s placed at the pew between the inside door and outside door at church entry. You can come anytime to pick it up. If you are not able to pick up at the church, please contact Diane Chicoine (firstname.lastname@example.org / 358-2520) so we will be better to deliver it to you in person since the mailing cost is more expensive than its purchasing price. and also if you prefer using your own envelope rather than the church pledge envelope, please let us know. Thanks
2021 NEAC leadership training
Jan 20 - SPRCs / Feb 3- Treasurers / Feb 24 Trustees
All members of each committee will receive the detailed information via email.
Prayer for National Leaders
(Inspired by Jeremiah 23:1 & 4)
Lord, we believe you when you say you will lead us. But we have suffered at the hands of those who would destroy and scatter your sheep. You promised that you would raise up shepherds who will gather us together so than no one will have to live in fear. So we look for those shepherds, Lord.
We pray for those will do good and do right, for those who will protect the children, who will school the children, who will give the children hope.
We pray for those shepherds who will pursue peace, who will walk humbly, who will reconcile nations.
We pray for shepherds who will fight injustice, who stand on the side of justice.
We pray for shepherds who will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and set at liberty the captives.
We pray for shepherds who will spread love, show mercy, and practice hospitality.
Lord, we pray for our shepherds; we pray for our people; we pray for our country; we pray for the nations.
Tony Peterson, Associate Acquisitions Editor for Bibles at Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville, is a former employee of Discipleship Ministries and a contributor to volumes A, B,and C of the Africana Worship Book.