Airplanes and roller coasters make me anxious. I can feel my heart thump faster and louder, my muscles tense and my breath becomes shallow. It took me a while to figure out that both of those feed my fear of heights with a large dose of knowing I am not in control. Not being in control of circumstances or situations can make many of us at least mildly uncomfortable. For some of us, this discomfort of not being in control manifests in a desire to curl up and be alone, for others, that same anxiety shows in unhealthy and often unkind behaviors. We speak harshly, sometimes we sabotage the people and projects we love, and we are mean.
Last week, I rode 2 rollercoasters and 2 large slides at a waterpark. Wayne and the kids did a lot more. I remember thinking rationally about the loss of control and telling myself to calm down and spouting all sorts of reasons for why I was perfectly safe as the rollercoaster clicked its way to the crest of the first hill. As we went around the curve that led into the first drop that swirled and twirled and went upside down and back again, I stopped talking and held on tight. I prayed. I yelled at least once. For me, it was not fun.
There are times in life and tasks in life that are not fun. We feel out of control, almost like a pinball bouncing among the bumpers in a game for which we did not write the rules and over which we have no control. Those are the times we reach deeply into our faith and hang on tightly to all that God has taught us and shown us. Those are the times when we cling closely to the promises, and try to be kind in our faithfulness.
I’ve been thinking about what it must have been like for Jochebed, Moses’ mother, as she put her baby in the basket or ark. Did she cover him gently with his swaddling, did she lean in close for one more look, one more kiss? Did she cry as she took the baby to the Nile, did she try to hide her tears? Did her heart feel as if it were going to break into millions of pieces?
As her baby floated there in the reeds and her daughter stood watch, Jochebed’s presence is not recorded. Did she go home? Was she standing a little further off, crying and waiting for news of what happened to her little baby boy?
When the baby was in the water, she was no longer in control of his life. Was she anxious and afraid? In many ways she is an example for me to do the right, yet difficult thing, even when I cannot see what is going to happen, when I cannot control circumstances or consequences. By doing what must have been so heart wrenching faithfully, Jochebed shows us what it is like to follow God faithfully.
And now, 4 things:
We continue to seek persons to be in leadership in Jason’s House. As we move to a more team approach, we will need people who work with different areas such as accommodations, set up and take down, and so forth. In the coming weeks, we will share robust descriptions of these responsibilities.
We have made our first apportionment payment of the year! Our apportioned giving is used by the United Methodist Church to provide missions and programs throughout the world and to support missions and programs in South Carolina. As I write this, many of our younger teenagers are at Immerse, a program supported by apportioned giving that brings young people from across the state together to worship and grow deeper in faith. In the Narthex and in the FLC lobby there are booklets entitled Pathways that explain more of our apportioned giving. It is also available online at www.umcsc.org. Thank you for your faithful giving that allows great things to be done in Jesus’ name.
August 11 will be a special and fun day for us. The 8:30 service will continue as usual, but at 11:00, the entire church will worship together Under One Roof in the Family Life Center. We will enjoy songs that touch our hearts and get our toes to tapping, preaching that inspires and we will do the work of the church as we bless those returning (or starting to school) and as we bless backpacks that will be given to Help4Kids. Late that afternoon, we will enjoy a potluck dinner. I look forward to worshipping with all of you.
Now stay calm, because something else new will happen on August 11. The worship bulletin is going to change a little bit. We are One church. We are going to try to use One bulletin that will include the order of worship for both traditional worship and the Wave. We do this so that:
More people have an opportunity to know what is going on everywhere in the church.
We will practice good stewardship as we use less ink and paper
Finally, I’ve shared with many of you that Brad Dean, who moved away to Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, has emailed to ask for prayer for Puerto Rico and its people. As tensions escalated, he wrote, “We need peace, calm and a God-inspired resolution. For too long, the people have put their trust in man – we need to turn our hearts and minds to Him, and seek His will. I pray for peace, unity and His will right now for our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico.” Just before the Puerto Rican governor said he would resign, when people were marching and protesting in the streets, Brad assured me that he and his family are safe, but he asked for continued prayer.
In these days when all is chaotic and scary in Puerto Rico and maybe in our own lives, may all of our hearts turn to God.