Message from Pastor Liz

Thoughts for Our Nelson UMC
Friends and Community
I Have Thoughts . . .

So, it didn’t rain.  I’d been watching the weather so constantly you’d have thought I was trying to will it not to rain [I was].  I’d had an outdoor wedding Saturday afternoon so between the wedding and the backyard service Sunday morning, the weather and I had been in close contact for about 72 hours.  Which brings me to:  but it was hot!  Yeah, I’d been sufficiently obsessed with precipitation I’d almost entirely forgotten about temperature . . . until I put on that black preacher’s robe with the velvet panels.  That robe may never recover entirely.

With the courage and confidence of someone trying something we’ve never done before [always well-received in church . . .] a dozen or so of us found our way to the parsonage backyard Sunday morning.  I would discover mid-afternoon that I had forgotten to re-park my car after an early morning run for ice that ended with me parking katty-wampus with the side of the car with the ice closest to the garage  [Hey!  There were three 20-lb bags of ice and I’m an old lady!] and my car parked like one might after a wildly ‘successful’ night on the town that one barely finds their way home from. [Grammar-police:  deal with it;  so I ended on a preposition.]  My apologies to those who gamely tried to park at the parsonage.

On a table fashioned out of two Adirondack chairs and a board, four baskets were labeled “Offering”, “Health Forms”, “Communion” and “Our Daily Bread”.  And on the ground beside them was a metal tub filled with ice [see previous] and bottles of water.  In honor of Father’s Day, one of the bushes displayed quotes about fatherhood.    It wasn’t the Last Supper, but the image crossed my mind a few times over the morning.  The order of service was written across a large paper tablet and so we began our great experiment in ‘worship unplugged’.  We followed the regular order of service, from announcements to the benediction, with everything in-between except the music.

First, it was just good to be able to gather together again;  seems like a very long time since we did.  I think it went well for a first go-at-it.  Next time there will be some of those pop-up canopies that will create shade, which will be a marked improvement.  We’re discussing some kind of amplification assist, which my voice-box appreciates. I missed the music:  the introits, hymns, and all, but it seems a small thing if it keeps folks from catching this thing.     

I don’t know how others experienced it but here’s my take: it was something of a combination of church camp, family barbeque, and retreat worship.  It was very much the scale of “family worship” or a “family chapel”, which was probably appropriate for Father’s Day Sunday.  Necessary but not really an advantage, it was mostly me talking and folks listening.  And maybe this could be a chance for experimenting with ‘dialogue’ or more interactive sermon forms;  we’ll have to see about that.  I had a clergy friend in one place that used to do “Stump the Pastor” sermons;  amusing to watch but I’m still not so sure about the worship and liturgical aspects of it.  But that may be just that high-church Presbyterian raising in me . . .

It was casual by necessity, and strangely intimate because of the circumstances and the clear commitment of folks to be church together.  Being the pastor I’m not feeling particularly objective about how to judge it;  maybe others might.  But I hope if you’re considering attending, you give it a shot.  Give me a call or an email, let me see if I can help with any concerns or challenges you might have, and hopefully we’ll all gather again next Sunday.  The text is the sacrifice of Isaac, and I can hardly wait to see what I do with that!

Grace and soap, and now sunscreen, y’all. 

Grace and soap.

~Pastor Liz         

Phone: 434.222.3394   Email: pastor@nelsonumc.com   Website: www.nelsonumc.com

 

*Hymn  “Where Joy And Sorrow Meet”

There’s a place of quiet stillness

‘tween the light and shadows reach;

Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace,

Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet,

Mending grief and life eternal

Where joy and sorrow meet.

 

CHORUS

There is a place where hope remains

In crowns of thorns & crimson stains

And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet,

Where joy and sorrow meet.

 

There’s a place the lost surrender

And the weary will retreat,

Full of grace and mercy tender in times of unbelief;

For the wounded there is healing strength is given to the weak

Broken hearts find love redeeming

Where joy and sorrow meet.

 

CHORUS

There is a place where hope remains

In crowns of thorns & crimson stains

And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet,

Where joy and sorrow meet.

 

There’s a place of thirst and hunger

Where the roots of faith grow deep,

And there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep;

There is hope in desperation, there is vict’ry in defeat

At the cross of restoration

Where joy and sorrow meet.

 

CHORUS

There is a place where hope remains

In crowns of thorns & crimson stains

And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet,

Where joy and sorrow meet.

“While we are worshipping differently, we all recognize that the church must still meet our financial obligations.  So, first – and let me be plain and clear – take care of yourselves first.  Full stop;  end of sentence.  This is true whether or not we find ourselves in our own version of ‘plague of locust’ or not.  After that, if you can continue to support the church budget in these times, prayerfully consider such support and know we will gratefully receive any tithes or offerings by mail at Nelson UMC, 5239 Thomas Nelson Hwy., Arrington, VA   22922.”
 
Thanks.  Liz