Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
I hope you have been enjoying the warmer weather we have experienced this week.
I want to start by thanking all of the St. Matthew’s musicians who led worship services last week. I was blessed by the children’s musical and the modern worship hymn sing. A lot of time and energy went into preparing for these services and it showed. Music ministry is less about performing than it is about honoring God and leading us into deeper relationships with the Creator of the universe. Music touches our hearts and inspires us in powerful ways. That’s why music is essential for meaningful worship. This is not just a modern phenomenon. Read 1 Chronicles 13:5-8 and discover how David and all of Israel danced and sang as the ark of the covenant made its way to Jerusalem. I’m thankful for musicians of all ages and musical abilities who offer their God-given gifts, honor God by seeking excellence and giving their best, and help lead worship throughout the year. I’m also thankful for the way St. Matthew’s musicians serve the community through events like the Ring for the Cure Spring Handbell Concert, which will be held in the St. Matthew’s sanctuary on Sunday May 6 at 6:30 p.m. The concert is free, but an offering for Susan G. Komen will be received.
I know that this is a busy season and the warmer weather invites us to travel and spend time outdoors, but I want to encourage you to participate in one of St. Matthew’s worship services every Sunday if you are in town. And if you are traveling, I hope you will listen to our live-stream on Sunday morning or listen to the recoding later in the week. For the next five Sundays, we will be preaching a series of sermons called This Thing Called Church. We’ll be looking at what the Bible says about the Church. We’ll start by remembering that the Church exists not because we think it is a good idea, but because God thinks it is a good idea. The Bible is clear that the Church exists to fulfill God’s purposes in the world, not ours. The Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit to form individuals as disciples of Jesus Christ and equip individuals for ministry in the world. We are the Church-the Body of Christ-and we have a mission: to bear fruit, to make a difference in the world, to make the world a different place. The first message in the series is entitled, Because I Said So. Luke 24:25-31 and Luke 24: 44-49 will be the Scripture readings.
Finally, you may be aware that The United Methodist Church (UMC) celebrates its 50th birthday in 2018. In 1968, The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren joined to form the UMC. (The first official Methodist denomination was The Methodist Episcopal Church, which was formed in 1784.) With all that is happening within the larger Church,* I think it’s important that we celebrate all the ways God has used the UMC over the years. Check out this link: www.umc.org/who-we-are/50-reasons-to-celebrate-the-united-methodist-church. I think you’ll be inspired and you’ll learn something. Don’t forget: when you and I make and keep a commitment to participate in the life of the Church through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, we participate in this kind of life-changing (and world-changing) ministry.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we learn more about This Thing Called Church.