Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!
One year my husband and I ordered a kayak from Amazon. At the time, we lived near a lake and it seemed like such a fun thing to do, kayaking. We had done it on a vacation and really enjoyed it. So, we ordered one. I don’t know what we anticipated getting, but it wasn’t the hard, sturdy kayak boat that we had been in! Instead, it was folded neatly into a small box waiting for us to blow it up and take it for a spin. And I don’t know if it was because we didn’t trust ourselves to make it sturdy enough, or if we didn’t trust the big boats on the lake and their huge wakes of water, but in any event, back to Amazon it went!
We just couldn’t imagine that little kayak being able to keep us afloat in rough water. And so it is with life at times. Our boat seems so small. That reminds me of a poem written by Winfred Ernest Garrison, who based it on a Breton fisherman’s prayer: “Dear God, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.” That’s also part of the logo for the Children’s Defense Fund.
At times we can feel that our boat is so small and the sea is so big. “I’m lost, in the middle of the sea, and I’m in this little bitty kayak! I don’t know how I’m going to deal with the waves. And what if it storms?” We can become overwhelmed with questions and doubts swirling in our heads.
Fear says to you what if you’re thrown overboard? And feel like you’re going to drown because you’re getting so tired while swimming desperately for the shore. You’re just trying to keep your head above water! What component of your life feels like a wide sea: scary, overwhelming, hard to navigate, with storms that might arise at any moment? Is it your advancing age? A health issue? Your grief for a loved one? Fears about aging alone?
You’re out there, on the sea of life, and suddenly you hear a voice:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
We have a guide in rough waters, a very present help in times of trouble on the river, the Lord our God, the Holy One of Israel, our Savior! White water rafting excursions typically have a guide to help you to maneuver through the rough waters. So it is on our spiritual journey. We have the Lord God Almighty. The One who created the waters, the One who made the rivers. The One who had a conversation with the wind and the waves…
And waking up, He [Jesus] rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be silent! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Isn’t it comforting to know that we are not traveling along this journey alone? The waves will come, storms will rise, and life gets pretty rocky at times, but if we would only remember that we have a guide. And He’s in the boat with us!
Listen for the still small voice of God, come into His Presence and just be still. You’ll find that sometimes God will calm the storm, and sometimes God will calm you as you go through the storm. That’s White Water Faith! Trust and believe, and watch God bring you through the rapids, around the bends, and lead you to still waters (Psalm 23).
Join us for worship this Sunday, as we continue our sermon series, Faith Forward: The Year of Extraordinary Faith! This Sunday’s message is: White Water Faith. You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
BMCR 5th Sunday Worship! The Black Methodists for Church Renewal will hold their regular 5th Sunday worship celebration at Green Trails Church on Sunday, January 29, 3:00pm. We are the host church, I will be the host preacher, and I’m so hoping to see you in the place! The message – Wanted: Dead or Alive! See you there! They are asking that we mask, so please bring your mask and let’s worship!
Leadership Training On January 28, from 10am to Noon, we will have a training session for those on the Leadership Board and the Nominations Team (NLDT). The training will be held at Union Memorial. If you are a member of either team, please RSVP your attendance via the email you received.
Black History Month Events:
Black Film Festival
Saturday, Feb 4, showing Soul. 11:00a-1:00p. An animated movie about a jazz player that will speak to the whole family!
Saturday, Feb. 25, showing After Jackie. 11:00a-1:00p. A documentary highlighting the STL Cardinal players Bob Gibson, Bill White, & Curt Flood, chronicling their journey through sports and life as Black men, and the resulting World Series Championships!
8:00 Bean Band & Art Show will pay a tribute to Black music as part of their concert on Friday, Feb. 10, 6:30pm.
Unity Lunch on Sunday, Feb. 26, after worship. We will celebrate with a catered lunch of healthy soul food selections, and a presentation on the African Schoolhouse Number 4, the one that we are helping to restore in Faust Park.
Faith Forward Challenge How are you doing with it?
First 15 – use the first 15 minutes of each morning to engage in:
GRATITUDE 5 minutes being grateful
RENEWAL 5 minutes reading
WORSHIP 5 minutes in prayer and meditation
First Day – spend the first day of the week in worship
First Fruits – increase your generosity of time, talent, & treasure