What rain reveals
Unless you’re a pluviophile (someone who loves rain), a stretch of sunshine-free days can seem drab and dreary. To make South Korea’s long monsoon season more colorful, art students created murals on some Seoul sidewalks with hydrochromic paint. It’s invisible on dry surfaces, but as soon as water hits, vibrant images appear. Rain transforms gray pavement into bright scenes of fish, whales and turtles.
Life’s storms, whether literal or figurative, can dampen our enthusiasm and even challenge our faith. Yet adversity often reveals God’s true colors — and ours. No matter what clouds pass overhead, God remains perfect, loving and steadfast. And by praising God “rain or shine,” we, as his artwork, reveal that our Creator and his every brushstroke are trustworthy.
In “The Summer Day,” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019) captures the season profoundly as a time to pay attention, especially to the wonders of Creation; to let oneself be idle sometimes; and to let one’s time of quiet rest, meandering through meadows and gazing at grasshoppers, be prayer.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields ...
Search online to read the entire work. Let it inspire you for a walk with God through one of these summer days.
A father’s legacy
For Joseph Dodson, the pressures and responsibilities of parenthood felt compounded when he and his wife adopted a son. Dodson, a Bible professor, wonders if Jesus’ earthly father also struggled with doubts and fears.
Scripture doesn’t say much about Joseph, but he clearly left Jesus “a significant legacy,” Dodson writes in Bible Study Magazine. Joseph obeyed God — despite the risk to his reputation — by marrying a pregnant woman. Joseph, a son of David, raised the Son of David as his very own. To protect his family he fled to Egypt, foreshadowing the “new exodus” of Jesus’ saving ministry. And Joseph heard neighbors mock Jesus as “the carpenter’s son.”
“Joseph taught Jesus much more than woodworking,” Dodson writes. “He modeled for his adopted son how, for God’s glory, he must drink the Father’s cup no matter the cost.”
Check the bulletin board for updated information about our congregation and the Disciples of Christ organization.
By the time the summer solstice occurs, it feels as if the season has been in full swing for weeks. It’s bittersweet that just when summer officially starts, the length of daylight begins decreasing. Before we’re ready to let go of the season, summer marches toward fall, and then winter with the year’s shortest day.
Yet that is our Creator's plan: “You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter” (Psalm 74:17, ESV). God fashioned the world to be beautiful, good and perfectly symmetrical. With concise order, he ordained seasons, rhythms, orbits and natural boundaries. As God’s beloved children, we’re blessed to enjoy the intricacies and patterns of this magnificent universe.
Swaddled in God’s law of love
Pastor John Edgerton tells of swaddling his 2-week-old baby to help her feel secure. She loved being wrapped tightly in a soft blanket and would lie quietly — until she managed to work a tiny arm loose. Then she’d scream until someone rewrapped her.
Edgerton likens that behavior to his own connection with God’s law, given so people can live in peace. “I know that I’m supposed to do the right thing, but I’m always wiggling out of it,” he writes. “And very quickly my life falls into a state of disarray.”
We’ve all experienced this. We know we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, yet we often ignore their needs. Jesus says to love our enemies, but we wiggle around it: “That’s too naïve for this day and age.” But then relationships crumble, life feels crazy and we recognize that, in large part, we’ve done it to ourselves. Over and over, we wiggle out of the soft swaddle of God’s law of love, only to flail. Thankfully, like a loving parent, God wraps us up anew, holds us close and saves us from ourselves — again.
Minister Family Musings
Steve & Lela Coleman
Here is a preview of the upcoming Disciples General Assembly
I am so pleased to invite you to attend the General Assembly in Des Moines this summer!
We will have a rich opportunity to dig into our theme scripture (John 15:1-5) through the Bible studies contained in this planning guide, through powerful preaching during worship and through morning Bible study sessions Monday through Wednesday. To “abide” means to remain, to stay, even to persist. I pray that you will find meaningful ways to abide in Christ before, during and after our time together at General Assembly.
We will hear about exciting mission from MissionFest stories and general ministries working on our behalf.
We will be gifted with the opportunity to learn with workshops ranging from elder training to administrative ministry and training for both lay and clergy leaders.
We will come together at tables – the Lord’s Table in worship, luncheons with friends and dinners to learn about ministries of the Church.
Most of all, we will be in the presence of other Disciples, sharing life, love and passion for mission together. Find out more in the following pages.
I pray each of you will join us together as we praise our Holy God for all the wonderful abundance that flows over and around us. As we seek to abide in Christ, may we find that the fruit we bear is a blessing to all around us.
See you in Des Moines!
With God’s love – Terri Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Why Iowa? Every region has its strengths: hospitality in the South, laid back surfer culture on the West Coast, a friendly “eh?” in Canada. Iowa has NICE – a mixture of friendliness and trust – just waiting for you at the 2019 General Assembly.
The Local Arrangements Committee is planning an Iowa Nice Welcome just for you. Everyone, no matter the age or ability, will find wonderful things to do and share in these Fields of Opportunities we call home.
The Good Times Committee has created lots of ways for you to experience the Heartland, beginning on Saturday with the Des Moines Farmers Market, ranked the 3rd best farmers market in America! We’ve also planned daily bike rides, exploring the many bike trails in and around Des Moines, or strolling the River Walk beside the Convention Center.
For a little culture, you can tour the World Food Prize Hall with its Beaux-arts style building, the Iowa Historical Museum, or the Tudor/Gothic Salisbury Manor.
For a little rest you can walk a Labyrinth Park or wake up to Yoga on the River.
There will be everything from family-oriented scavenger hunts to an adult-oriented Brew Cruise.
Add to that a MissionFest, meaningful worship, the GA Choir, and digital Skywalk Video Maps to make it easy to navigate to and from just about anywhere and you have Iowa Nice!
Every place is special in this world that God declared Good. But, let’s face it, not every place has a Butter Chalice Photo Op. So take a minute and register now! You don’t want to miss it and we can’t wait to meet you!
Local Arrangements Committee Chair
News From the Pews: Here is the yearly schedule for Pastor Steve & our Associate Pastors Jack & Liz Miller: Pastor Steve Coleman will serve MVFCC:
January-April-July-August-November-December Church/Home Office Hours: Monday - Thursday from 10:00am-1:00pm Cell phone: 360-391-0395 Associate Pastors Rev. Jack Miller & Rev. Liz Miller will serve MVFCC: February-March-May-June-September-October
Home-based hours on Mondays & Wednesdays from 10:00am-1:00pm & Church Office Hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am - 1:00pm
Cell Phones: 360-318-6068 or 360-510-9081
*If you are in need of Pastor care, feel free to call any of our wonderful clergy for help. Building Update: We have been going through some major work to update and repair our central heating system. A new gas meter and line was installed, and the whole system was checked out and leaks were discovered. The repairs are on-going. The cost for this huge project is rising. If you are able to contribute a few extra dollars above your monthly tithing, it would be very much appreciated. Our budget does not cover such a large expense, and we are grateful for your help. As with any structure, repairs and maintenance are required in order to keep the doors open. Please pray that the work will be completed soon!
We are excited to welcome St. Clare Pastoral Center back to our building! Revs Jack & Liz Miller have worked hard to get the classroom near the main entrance door painted and cleaned. Stop by and see what they have accomplished. They will hold their church group services there each Sunday while we worship along-side them in the Sanctuary, then join us for Fellowship at 11:30. We are thankful for their commitment to our congregation, and we welcome their members to our Fellowship time.
"A Caring, Welcoming Community of Faith"
Have a wonderful summer!
We all are not only church, we, the people, are the church and we are on a journey together. It doesn't matter what religion or even if one needs to differentiate. We are ALL God's people on this journey. We love the unity and togetherness we have. Our church (when I use the term our church I mean both, First Christian, and St. Clare's) show the love of God, without judgement but what he has called us to do...love one another. We are truly a caring, loving community. We truly feel blessed to be serving.
Liz and Jack Miller
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.
Fun in the sun
Enjoy some summer-themed laughter while you lounge!
Seen on a church sign (and appropriate for grilling season): “God doesn’t make misteaks.”
Person approaching a shoreline: “Is this river any good for fish?” Response: “It must be. I can’t get any of them to leave it.
Q: Why do people go to church in the summer?
A: It’s prayer-conditioned!
Q: Why was it so hot in the stadium after the game?
A: All the fans left.
Q: While hiking, how can you identify a dogwood tree?
A: By its bark.
Q: What do sheep have on sunny days?
A: A baa-baa-cue!