Born Again Irish Beach Brings Hope

An Irish beach disappeared in 1984.  At Dooagh Beach, the sand on Achill Island was washed away by storms, leaving only rocks and rock pools. Right around Easter in 2017 a strange tide came and deposited hundreds of the tons of sand where the former beach stretched about 300 meters.

The locals describe the event as “miraculous.”  The renewal of the beach is inspiring.  The local tourism board explained why people are flocking to the resurrected beach:

“We live in a dark world these days so I think that is why there has been so much interest in Dooagh beach since the story broke. For something like our beach to come back gives people hope. It’s a good news story and one where nature has done something benign for a change.  The title of J.J. McNamara’s article says it all:   “‘It gives people hope’: born-again Irish beach captures world’s attention.”

This Advent we will study the ancient themes of a season that early Christians considered a “mini-Lent.”   This Sunday we begin our sermon series, A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the message “Longing for Hope.”  Invite a friend to join you this month for a fun, meaningful walk through Advent, celebrating Jesus, the Christ, in whom we find our hope.   

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,

Pastor Cathy Johns

Thanksgiving Litany: 1 Chronicles 16: 23-34

As we prepare our hearts and minds for Thanksgiving with friends and family I offer the following litany to center on God’s faithfulness, with gratitude.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Share the news of God’s saving work every single day!

Declare God’s glory among the nations;

God’s wondrous works among all people.

For great is the Lord, and worthy of praise!

God is to be revered above all other gods.

For the gods of the nations are merely idols,

but it is God who created the heavens!

Greatness and grandeur surround God,

strength and beauty are in God’s dwelling.

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord!

Recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.

Give to God the glory God deserves!

Bring your offering and come to worship God.

Bow down to the Lord in God’s holy splendor!

Tremble before God, all the earth!

For God set the world firmly in place; it won’t be shaken.

Let the heavens be glad! Let the earth rejoice!

Let the nations say, “The Lord rules!”

Let the sea and everything in it roar!

Let the fields and their crops burst forth in joy!

Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord!

For God is coming to establish justice on earth!

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good,

God’s faithful love endures forever.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings, grounded in unconditional love!  See you in church!

Through Christ,

Pastor Doug

The Funny Thing about Love

Kim Caasali, a New Zealand native, was a cartoonist who wrote love notes to her future husband in the late sixties.  Her cartoons shed light on what love is all about.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Love is…having your picnic indoors on a rainy day

Love is…accepting that no one is perfect

Love is…someone to get goofy with

Love is…putting some money in his pocket when he’s tapped out

Love is…what overcomes everything

This Sunday, Pastor Sherman Bradley, of our second campus, The Warehouse, will bring a powerful message about what it means to Love God and neighbor.  Sherman is the founder of Consider the Poor, has rich experience in working with people in Over-The-Rhine, including leadership roles with City Gospel Mission.

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church has partnered with Sherman and Sadell Bradley, our new pastors in Over-The-Rhine, to launch a new multi-ethnic, multi-socio-economic, diverse faith community to reach new people for Christ.  Renovations are currently underway and they hope to have a “soft launch” for worship at “The Warehouse” in late November.  The official public launch is scheduled for Easter 2020.

Your prayers and support of the birthing of this new faith community are appreciated.  We are delighted to see how God will move to transform lives through the Bradleys and this fresh expression of faith through The Warehouse.  Please extend a warm welcome to Sherman as he brings God’s Word to us this weekend.   

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Are We Able?

When Jesus was confronted and questioned by the religious elite about which law/commandment was the greatest (there were about 897 individual laws at that point) Jesus proclaims that the entirety of the law is summed up in two, “to love God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your whole mind (Mark adds strength); and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus proclaims in the “sermon on the mount”: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17)

The Christ comes to fulfill the law: Love God and love those God loves.  In doing so Christ invites us to follow.  Are we able?  In answering the question one 20th Century theologian invites us to consider, “Remember, as soon as your ‘love’ needs or wants a reward in return, you have backed away from Divine Love, which is why even our common notion of a ‘reward in heaven’ can keep us from the actual love of God or neighbor!  A pure act of love is its own reward, and needs nothing in return.  Love is shown precisely in an eagerness to love.”

Let’s do it!  Let us answer the call to follow Jesus in this way of love. Let us embrace a love for “the other” that reflects how we have been loved by Christ.  Let us embrace a love for our enemies, and those who persecute us, that reflects the unmerited, undeserving love of God.  As we embrace our own belovedness, let us embrace all God has created and calls beloved!  To this end we are in this together; it is a privilege to serve in ministry with you, see you in church.

Through Christ,

Pastors Cathy and Doug Johns