A Word from the Pastor
"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"
It is no surprise that the first temptation that Jesus experienced while in the wilderness had to do with food. So much of our experience with food as human beings comes with both challenges and temptations. For the ancient Hebrew people, their own wilderness experience involved learning to live with a shortage of food and the temptation to take matters into their own hands rather that to trust that God would provide "manna from heaven". Jesus, having fasted for many days is confronted by the temptation to "command this stone to become a loaf of bread"- or to find another way to find nourishment other than through the usual channels. Jesus responds to the temptation by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy where the Hebrew people are reminded that "One does not live by bread alone." Jesus, in turn, taught his disciples not to make an idol out of food when he taught them to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread".
This past Wednesday we began our annual Lenten journey as we observed Ash Wednesday. Like Jesus we have begun a forty day period of wilderness wanderings leading up to our celebration of Easter. It seems to me that this is a good time for us to evaluate our relationship with food in a way that is healthy both physically and spiritually. Since I am one who "lives to eat" rather than "eating to live" the challenge may be different for me than for you. I am hoping to be more thoughtful about the food that I eat while hopefully eating less as well. I want to think broadly about where the food I eat has come from; has it been produced in a way that is good for the earth and for those who eat it; has it been packaged in a way that does not result in a lot of waste and am I eating it in a way that does not result in food that is going to waste rather than sustaining myself and others. For others of you the questions you ask about the food you eat may need to be different but they are important nonetheless.
A good place to start of course is with prayer- both before meals and at other times- acknowledging that the food we eat ultimately is a gift from God to be enjoyed and shared. I also hope to do some reading around the relationship between food, spirituality, and our global relationships (thanks to a gift from one of my sons!). I imagine that you will be hearing something about what I read and the thoughts that I have as a result of reading and reflection.
I may not choose to fast but recognize in fasting an ancient biblical tradition whereby the saints of old have come to experience the truth that "One does not live by bread alone". I invite you to join me in this Lenten journey as you reflect spiritually on the food that you eat as well.
3/10 The First Sunday in Lent
Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Luke 4:1-13
Theme: Eating Reflectively in the land of "milk and honey"- Eating is necessary to life both physically and spiritually. Yet, for most of us the food that we eat is fraught with temptation on many different levels. During this season of Lent we will contemplate what it means to enjoy food as a gift from God and eat it reflectively. This will hold true whether the food is of the physical type or the spiritual.
OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK
At our most recent Church Council meeting we talked about how we might better highlight some of the opportunities for service that are available through the church. A suggestion was made that maybe we could have an "opportunity of the week". This will now be a new feature in the weekly e-mail blast so look for these wonderful opportunities and see if there is something that sounds inviting to you.
This week's opportunity involves volunteering to assist with the Book Sale that will take place on Saturday, March 16th from 9am-2pm. I am sure that there will be need for help the day before as well. To inquire or offer your assistance please speak to Mavis Pyle or give her a call at 860-9792 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Following the Special Session of General Conference that was held February 23-26 there are lots of questions as to what the implications of the decisions made will be for our annual conference and for the churches that make up the United Methodist Church. In order to provide opportunity for members of our district churches to have "courageous" conversations our District Superintendent, Jim McPhee, will lead us in discussion on Monday, March 18th at 7:00pm. We will be hosting this session here at MSUMC and will need volunteers to help with refreshments, sound, projection, and greeting. If you are willing to assist please let Pastor Rich know asap. A second session will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at 7:00pm at in South Portland, Maine.
All youth and adults are invited to participate in an exciting mission opportunity this summer. Our mission work will be hosted by the United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth (U.M. ARMY). This organization has been providing mission opportunities for youth and adults for 40 years. During the week of July 14-20, we will be partnering with several other UM churches to work in the Dover community doing projects, such as handicap access ramps, step and stair repair, handrail installation, painting, yard work and a variety of other projects. We will sleep, eat, worship and share fellowship at a local church that will host us for the week. Our goal in Dover will be to build relationships with those we are serving and to grow in faith by becoming God's hands and feet in the world. U.M. ARMY will be offering New Adult Training for those, 18 and over, who are new in attending or want a refresher course on the ministry. We will send out dates and times for the online training as we get closer to the mission week.Students who are currently enrolled in seventh grade through high school, as well as college-age young adults, are welcome to participate. Adults over 21 are needed as U.M. ARMY requires that we bring 2 adults (over 21) with vehicles for every 5 youth. Adults should agree to have a criminal background check and that all adults will be approved by the senior pastor of our church. The cost per person for this trip is $300. We will be doing a variety of fundraising events to help defray the individual cost for the mission trip. But we require each participant to pay for the $50 non-refundable registration fee. If you have a financial hardship to pay for the registration fee, please speak to Pastor Rich. Registration for this mission trip will be done online and your registration is due on March 31, 2019. Please contact Karrie Lam, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at email@example.com to reserve a space on the trip. She will provide you with a link to complete the registration.