From Pastor Jeff
From Pastor Jeff
“Prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare the way of the Lord,
and all people will see the salvation of our God.”
Prepare the Way of the Lord
United Methodist Hymnal 207
arr. Jacques Berthier and the Community of Taize
Dear Church Family,
Could it be? Has Spring finally sprung? As I write this, I am looking out my rain spattered window to a damp parking lot with clouds overhead that are
continually dropping some kind of
precipitation. According to my trusty Farmer’s Almanac, the season of Spring was supposed to start on Tuesday, March 20. Well, as you can tell more than a month has passed since that date, and yet only now are we beginning to see glimpses of the season of Spring.
Have you put your shovel and salt away? Have you broke out your
gardening tools? Maybe you made your seasonal pilgrimage to Home Depot to purchase some topsoil or some pansies and petunias?
It seems like Winter has lasted
extra-long this year, and only now do we again begin to see signs of life from the trees and the bulbs. As I was driving through Mill Creek Park the other week, I passed the golf course, which by one of their signs had some daffodils and hyacinths that were in full bloom. As I drove past, I took in that beautiful sight. The next day, however, we had a
dusting of snow, so I drove past again to see how the flowers were affected. Their heads were down, with a small accumulation of snow on the top. After the snow had melted away, the flowers perked up again, and their beauty was restored, not to their original state, but to a state that was still exquisite and magnificent to look at.
How often have you tried to prepare for something, but it doesn’t go to plan?
Maybe you put your shovel away, but we still had a couple more snow falls. Or maybe you took advantage of the
couple of nice Spring-ish days we had and planted in your landscape or in your
garden, only to be met with snow in the days following?
As Alacia and I have begun to prepare the parsonage for the arrival of our first baby, there are many things that need to be done. The crib, stroller, car seat, bassinet, dresser, and changing table, all need to be assembled. (which they have been) There are so many things that need to be prepared, but is there such a thing of being over prepared?
Throughout Jeremiah’s writings, he writes over 11 times a phrase that has made me think of a continual countdown clock—“The days are surely coming, says the Lord. . .”
With power and authority, the Lord says through the prophet Jeremiah that the days are surely coming— when
restoration will take place, when justice and righteousness will be implemented in the land, when a new covenant will be made, when the city will be rebuilt.
Friends, in all times, in all places, in all parts of life we are to be preparing.
In one of my favorite Taizé hymns, which the words go: “Prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare the way of the Lord, and all people will see the salvation of our God.” If the hymn is sung in a round, we come to comprehend that preparing is an action, but moreover it is a
continual action. We must always be preparing, preparing the way of Lord! Alleluia! Amen!
May you always live in the Love and Grace of God through Christ Jesus, as we continually prepare the way!
Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!
Love in Christ,
Rev. Jeffery R. Harrison
an open invitation for all
an open invitation for all
First United Methodist Church hosts free monthly community dinners open to the public.
These events focus on reaching out to our local area, sharing the grace of God and building a more united church family.
Our next Community Dinner will be April 26.
We hope to see you there!
West Austintown First United Methodist Church offers a group bible study open to the community called Supper, Study & Service in which participants gather to share a meal and explore a book that helps us reflect on our role as Christians in our community.
This study culminates in a Service project in which the group gives back to the local community by way of creating Blessing Bags from donated items, making a meal, and serving it to those in need.
We have partnered with Our Community Kitchen to serve these meals to the less fortunate.
During 2017 Summer, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered Supper & Study for a second time. The book covered was A Grace-full Life by Wes Olds & Jorge Acevedo which seeks to answer the questions: "In what ways is God an ever-present God?," "Why does God want to have a personal relationship with me?," "How can I fully experience and respond to God's grace?," "How can I die well '"surrounded by God's grace?"'.
Our group connected with Our Community Kitchen to serve a meal and deliver Blessing Bags.
If you would like to attend our next Supper, Study, & Service group, it will begin September 12th. You can find more information for these meetings and others on our church calendar.
During the 2017 Lenten season, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered a Supper & Study in which members gathered together, reading and discussing Tom Berlin's book Restored which helps us to see our mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. This Supper & Study group finalized their study with a Community Outreach program. They connected with Our Community Kitchen in downtown Youngstown & were invited to serve soup & give Blessing Bags to our unhoused brothers & sisters. Our next Supper & Study will begin mid-July.