Sunday, February 4, Trustees Meeting following Worship.
Sunday, February 11, General Board Meeting
Saturday, February 17, Elder’s Dinner at 5:00 pm.
Sunday, February 18, 1st Sunday in Lent & Secret Pal
Monday, February 19, President’s day, Office closed, no Bible Study.
Tuesday, February 20, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am.
Friday, February 23, Friendship House Meal prepared and served.Volunteer today.
Sunday, February 25, 2nd Sunday in Lent. Book Club meets following Worship. Family Promise Week
Wednesday, February 28, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm.
SPECIAL DATES IN FEBRUARY
• African-American History Month
• Transfiguration of Our Lord, February 11, 2018
• Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018
• Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018
• First Sunday in Lent, February 18, 2018
• Presidents Day, February 19, 2018
• Second Sunday in Lent, February 25, 2018
I read an interesting article in the Christian Century this week, which was entitled “Church is inconvenient.” It was written by the magazine’s publisher, Peter W. Marty, who is also the senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, IA. It caught my attention because he related conversations he’s had with parishioners regarding the relevance of being a part of a church similar to ones I’ve also had, overheard, or been told about by other pastors. Marty began by writing that a member of his church had told him her daughter’s family found the perfect church in Dallas. “They don’t go often,” she said, “because the church live streams its services. They can watch it anytime. If the kids are playing in the family room or Mom or Dad are busy putting brunch together, they can have worship on in the background. It’s really neat. Have you ever heard of this?” I have also had had conversations like this. They’re remindful of the opening to one of Emily Dickenson’s poems, “Some keep the Sabbath going to church - I keep it, staying Home.”
"I have decided that making Sabbath worship an integral part of one’s life is highly inconvenient. For those who stay away from a communal worship because Sunday is the day to arrange personal leisure, take special care of oneself, or get the kids off to soccer, making time for church is just plain inconvenient.
For those of us who make church a priority, Sabbath worship is equally inconvenient, though in a different way. We sing songs we didn’t pick, hear scriptures we didn’t choose, commit to endeavors for which we must sacrifice, and – here’s the worst – sit next to people who aren’t even our closest friends.
Those who regularly avoid church often harbor misperceptions about religion and see it as an antique way of life. Plenty of cultural Christians I know seem indifferent to God and are convinced that the church’s priorities are out of line. But in our world of customized living, where a mobile device can effortlessly order up my preferences and bring most everything to my doorstep, church is simply inconvenient. Church pulls me away from my self-designed life and requires that I take some initiative in another world that has nothing in common with 'doing whatever I please.'
Convenience often feels great, but it’s not an unalloyed good. If I exercise only when it’s convenient, or buy groceries only at the convenience store, or drink coffee only from paper cups, these choices do not make a good life. Inconveniences can hold their own deep value, especially when they ask us to experience a larger life than the one we typically design around our personal comfort.
We Christians love to talk about Jesus, and with good reason. But it’s impossible to have Jesus Christ apart from the church. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s reading of the apostle Paul led him to say that we cannot know Christ apart from Christian community. As wonderful as it might be to have Christ apart from the hypocrisies and distractions of other people who believe, Christ is embedded in the church. Sounds foolish to say, but we are Christ’s body. That inconvenient claim, that we are joined to other body parts that don’t necessarily think or look like we do, can seem either ugly or beautiful. I find it beautiful."
I must I admit, church every Sunday can sometimes be inconvenient, especially if there are other family activities we would really like to do instead or if the week has been so hectic we just need to get some rest before Monday rolls around again. My suggestion? Take the time, if you need it; but don’t let it become habitual. You’re going to start to miss us: miss the singing, miss the people, miss praying, miss communion, miss the chance for a bit of contemplation, miss the oftentimes “stimulating” messages, miss the conversation and good food afterwards, miss the whole experience of being part of the body of Christ. With Peter Marty, I, too, find it all beautiful.
Delighted to be with you, Steve (if we can improve your worship experience, let me know)
10 biblical ways to love:
1. Listen without interrupting. “To answer before listening — that is folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).
2. Speak without accusing. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
3. Give without selfishness. “The righteous give without sparing” (Proverbs 21:26).
4. Pray without ceasing. “We have not stopped praying for you” (Colossians 1:9).
5. Answer without arguing. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).
6. Share without pretending. “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of … Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
7. Enjoy without complaining. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14).
8. Trust without wavering. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
9. Forgive without punishing. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
10. Promise without forgetting. “A longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
Check the bulletin board for updated information about our congregation and the Disciples of Christ organization.
"A Caring, Welcoming Community of Faith"
THE LIMITED POWER OF ASHES
“The cross, with which the ashes are traced upon us, is the sign of Christ’s victory over death,” wrote Thomas Merton. “The words ‘Remember that thou art dust and that to dust thou shalt return’ are not to be taken as the quasi-form of a kind of ‘sacrament of death’ … It might be good stoicism to receive a mere reminder of our condemnation to die, but it is not Christianity.”
Perhaps we should structure Ash Wednesday worship with the imposition of ashes early on. Then their dusty symbolism can be supplanted by the forgiveness-flavored bread and wine of Holy Communion. Yet even if the service you attend is laid out differently, remember that ashes mark you only temporarily. Jesus’ resurrection — and the empty cross of victory — assures you already of everlasting life, which begins now.
Ash Wednesday Prayer
Merciful God, you called us forth from the dust of the earth; you claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism. Look upon us as we enter these Forty Days bearing the mark of ashes, and bless our journey through the desert of Lent to the font of rebirth. May our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms, a making of peace; our prayer, the chant of humble and grateful hearts.
The Mount Vernon First Christian Church gathers together as a community of faith, declaring Jesus our Christ, the one who reconciles us with God and with each other. We provide a place of traditional worship in a forthright, supportive, and open atmosphere. We are a congregation committed to serving local and global outreach ministries.
Making the Grade
My high-school English teacher was well known for being a fair, but hard, grader. One day I received a B minus on a theme paper. In hopes of bettering my grade and in the spirit of the valentine season, I sent her an extravagant heart-shaped box of chocolates with the pre-printed inscription: “BE MINE.” The following day, I received in return a valentine from the teacher. It read: “Thank you, but it’s still BE MINE-US.”