Midweek Message: Staring Up at Heaven

Midweek Message: Staring Up at Heaven

Dear Hyde Park Family,

A few weeks ago, my daughters and I spent a few days vacationing at a nearby hotel. Lounging poolside, I noticed a group of older elementary-aged kids, laughing and jabbering as they swam.

Then, we all looked up at the sky, and noticed an airplane skywriter. As the pilot began writing a smiley-face symbol, I couldn’t help but overhear what the kids around me were saying.

πŸ™‚ ….

Look! There’s a smiley face in the sky!
Yeah, that’s neat!
Hey! Now it’s drawing a letter!

πŸ™‚ … J …

It’s the letter J!

πŸ™‚ … J … E …

Cool! It’s spelling my name! Jenna! It’s saying “Smile, Jenna!”
That’s stupid. Why would it be saying “Smile, Jenna?”

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S …

(At this point, I was less interested in the fact that the skywriter was clearly spelling Jesus, and much more interested in the slow-boiling skirmish erupting among these kids at the pool.)

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S … U … S …

See, Jenna. It says, “Jesus.”
“Happy Jesus?” I don’t get it. That’s dumb.
Hey, look, Jenna! (pointing to a boy nearby) There’s that boy you like!
“Hey!” (calling out to the boy across the pool.) “My friend likes you.”
STOP! Why would you do that! I’m never talking to you again!

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S … U … S … L …

Hey, Look! It’s still writing letters! Jesus L? What does that mean?
(Kids stop their bickering for a minute, as they watch the skywriter.)

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S … U … S … L … O …

Hey, I get it! It’s going to say Jesus LOL!
Jesus LOL? That’s ridiculous! What does that even mean?
It’s saying Jesus is happy! And that smiley face is him!
That’s stupid.
Oh, yeah? Why don’t you ask your boyfriend over there?
Stop it!

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S … U … S … L … O … V …

(At this point, I was fairly sure that the skywriter was going to spell out “Jesus Loves You.” But as I listened to these children snipe and snap at each other, much as kids do, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Here was the message of God’s love, stated as plain as day by a plane in the sky. And it was hardly making a difference, at least to us spectators at that hotel pool.)

πŸ™‚ … J … E … S … U … S … L … O … V … E … S … U

By the time the plane finished its last word – the letter “U” instead of spelling out the full word – the original symbol of the smiley face had already started to dissipate into oblivion. And as I continued to listen to these distracted, hormone-induced kids splashing and sparring, a flash of Scripture came to mind. It’s the text for this Sunday, as we join with Christians around the world in observing the Ascension of our Lord:

While Jesus was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven?” (Acts 1:11)

Indeed, what good does it do to keep staring up at heaven, if it’s not going to impact at all the way we live, the way we think, and the way we treat other people? Maybe we’re not too unlike those kids at the pool. There it is, the good news of God’s amazing love, staring us right in the face, like a skywriter out of the blue, but making very little difference in what happens down here on the ground.

Join us this Sunday, as we explore the meaning of Jesus’ ascension for our lives, so that we can take this message of God’s love and make it real …

… before the chance to do so dissipates into thin air.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

MidWeek Message: The Long Shadow of Mental Illness

MidWeek Message: The Long Shadow of Mental Illness

It is an illness that affects about one in five Americans every year: nearly 43 million people. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada. The World Health Organization estimates that it poses a greater economic and social burden on global market economies than any other disease.

Chances are, someone you know and care for is affected by some form of mental illness. It shows no preference for any one demographic or life stage, and casts a long shadow in the homes, schools, and workplaces throughout our communities.

In 1949, the agency Mental Health America (formerly called the National Association for Mental Health) designated every May as Mental Health Awareness Month. You may want to visit their website for resources for yourself or someone you love.

I invite you to take a moment to pray for those affected by some form of mental illness. Work to overcome your own prejudice against people who are suffering, and help stem society’s stigma. And take a moment to reach out in love and concern to loved ones you know who deal with this on a daily basis. Offer them a note of understanding, a compassionate ear, or simply a kind word.

And if you are one of the millions dealing with mental illness, know that you need not take this journey alone. Seek out the trusted counsel of a friend or professional, and feel the presence of God’s peace in your life.

A WORD TO OUR YOUTH

I would also like to offer a special word to the youth of this church and their families, in the wake of the news of the third suicide by a youth in South Tampa over the last six weeks. I am aware that many of you are personally connected to one or more of these families, and I share in the grief, confusion, and sense of loss that you and others are feeling.

It is in times like these that I give thanks for the gift of Christian community, such as what we have in Merge here at the church. This is a place where you can be real with God and with people that you can trust, to share the deepest thoughts and feelings that you are struggling with. I’d like to remind you that at any time, Emily and her youth team, as well as I and the whole clergy staff, are available to talk to you about whatever you are facing.

There are also many resources available to those who are dealing with thoughts of suicide. Please make your friends aware of these agencies who are willing to help at any time:

Here is the information for Crisis Counseling, available any time year-round:
Call = 2-1-1
www.crisiscenter.com

Here is the Free Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is confidential and always available.
Call = 1.800.273.TALK (8255)
www.suicideprevetionlifeline.org

Most of all, I want to remind you of just how loved and supported you are in this church. You need not ever feel like you are alone in your life, and I firmly believe – with all my heart – that God has an amazing plan for your life, to make a huge positive difference in the world.

Hyde Park Family, together we can be a beacon of light for those who walk along dark paths. Together, let us continue to make God’s love real.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park Untied Methodist

Midweek Message: The Broad Center of the Church

Midweek Message: The Broad Center of the Church

May 11, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Next year, the United Methodist Church will be fifty years old. And it will be in its forty-sixth year debating homosexuality. That is a long time for family members to be at odds.

The dispute has only grown more hostile over recent years; the church was even on the precipice of an irreparable split at its most recent General Conference in Portland last May. The election of the denomination’s first gay bishop last year, and the subsequent ruling by the Judicial Council two weeks ago that declared her election a violation of church law, has only enflamed the passions on both sides. We continue to pray for The Commission on a Way Forward, a group of thirty-two clergy and laity authorized by the 2016 General Conference to discern a plan for the church to find a way through its current impasse. A specially called General Conference has been set for 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, with the express purpose of considering the plan put forward by the Commission.

These are difficult days for a denomination caught in a contentious tug-of-war that feels like there can be no winners.

TO SERVE THE PRESENT AGE
Last week in Nashville, I was invited to be part of “To Serve the Present Age,” a gathering of 48 United Methodist leaders from across all five jurisdictions in the country who would identify as at or near the theological center in this debate. Some were on the “center-right” and others like myself were on the “center-left.” But we all shared mutual concern about how this argument reflects the kind of binary, dualistic and ultimately unhealthy culture of the wider world.

For a very full 24-hours, we shared, prayed, cried and lamented the harm that has been done to many in the church. Toward the end of our time, we began to coalesce around a hopeful vision that the broad center of the United Methodist Church might overcome its laryngitis, refusing to become a mere third rope in the tug-of-war and instead reminding the church of its nature and necessity in a critical time in our history.

I don’t know what will eventually become of that initial gathering, nor do I know what my future leadership in this group might be. However, I left Nashville even more firmly committed to the mission, vision and core values of Hyde Park United Methodist, for when we live into who we are called to be, we can be a witness to the wider denomination of a church in the broad center that has overcome its laryngitis.

NOT THE CHURCH VS. CULTURE, BUT THE CULTURE OF THE CHURCH
The argument by many on the far right of this debate is that those who have more accepting views of homosexuality have acquiesced to the culture, that we have allowed the ways of the world to shape our belief and practice, rather than the other way around. But to be warm-hearted and open-minded is less about shaping or being shaped by the culture around us. It is about tending to the culture within the church. It should be no surprise that many of Paul’s letters to the early churches, particularly I and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Galatians, dealt with the way Christians treated each other. And the way we treat each other can itself be a witness to the rest of the world.

So, even as I reiterate that I am for marriage equality and the ordination of gay and lesbian persons, and wish to work within our system to make those changes, I would like you to know that if you are on the opposite side of this debate, I love you as your pastor. You are not only welcomed here, you are accepted here.

Why? Because I recognize that I did not always believe as I do now. Thirty years ago, when I had a very different view of homosexuality, if the United Methodist local church of my youth was condescending of people with a more conservative view, like myself, then I would not have felt welcomed there. I likely would have left that church, which means I would not have been called to ministry in that church. I would therefore not be United Methodist today, and I would not be your pastor.

Even thinking about that alternate trajectory of my life makes me teary as I type.

This is not to say that I expect you to change your views to be like mine. And it does not mean that if you agree with me, then I think you are a better Christian. Having a church of multiple voices joined together by common mission does not make us weaker or culturally acquiescent. It does not make us a “mushy middle of ecclesiological niceness or a casual compromise of conflicting convictions,” in the words of Jim Harnish.

It makes us multilingual in our mission. And I’m pretty sure that Pentecost would say that’s a good thing.

NON-DUALISTIC THINKING

Besides, if we really wanted to acquiesce to the culture in its present state, then we are doomed to reflect its current polarized, binary, dualistic ways. As I spent time with my colleagues in Nashville, I couldn’t help but think of the number of times Jesus was presented with either/or questions. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Who sinned: this blind man or his parents? Is it right to heal on the Sabbath? Many times, when asked a question about sin posed in the form of a contentious tug-of-war, Jesus refused to play. Not only did he never say a word about homosexuality, he had a lot more to say about the grace of God, which transcends either/or categories that are more useful to cast judgment on others than they are in transforming lives.

So, I want you to know that in this church, we are unafraid to talk about sin. All of us deal with it. None of us are immune to it. We have all fallen short of God’s glory. And though many like myself have now come to the place where we believe homosexuals are created who they are by God, and that living into that identity is not sinful, it does not make that position soft on sin. Because I know of no one, gay or straight, who would say they are sinless. And it reminds me that the best answer Jesus ever gave to a binary question about sin was this: Let the one without sin cast the first stone.

So, I’m pretty sure we could all agree on this: we all really need Jesus.

THE ETHICS OF LOVE

I recognize that some people who do not affirm marriage equality and gay ordination say that the central issue is less a question about its sinfulness, and more about preserving traditions and institutions, like marriage and the structures of the church. The concern is that if everyone simply did what they wanted to do, then that would be detrimental to our society. As a rules person myself, I understand this position at a personal level. I do my best to observe covenants and boundaries, and to be obedient to the systems and institutions that govern my life and my calling.

In this light, this part of the debate is a reflection of the larger ongoing tension in the wider culture, among 1) those who value the stability of institutions, 2) those who value the authenticity of personal experience, and 3) those wish to value all perspectives as having equal merit. In terms of Spiral Dynamics, a color-coded theory of human consciousness espoused by psychologist Claire Graves, we are in the midst of a formidable tectonic shift among these three groups, which – put in terms of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – are those who most value tradition (Blue), experience (Orange), and reason (Green).

This interplay is not new. Within the biblical narrative is an ongoing conversation between the ways of God and the structures of earth. It is a dialogue between God’s initiatives and humanity’s ways of codifying them. But by the time Jesus came around, he realized that the institutionalization of God’s commandments had itself become monolithic, and when faced with the (again, dualistic) question of whether he had come to follow the law or abolish the law, Jesus said neither. He had come to fulfill the law.

If there is any bridge to be made among these three polarities in the church, it is the ethics of love. That is the theme that Jesus returned to, time and again, when he was confronted with these questions. For the traditionalists, an ethics of love means that our structures are merely a means to the fulfillment of our mission of sharing God’s love. For the experientialist, an ethics of love ought to govern the way we treat one another, even those who don’t share in that experience. For the relativist, an ethics of love is the parameter that determines what options are harmful, destructive and out of bounds.

For us Christians there is no greater revelation of that ethic of love than Jesus, revealed to us in the Bible.

THE GOD WHO IS STILL SPEAKING

That is why I believe that God is still speaking to us. Because the times are changing, the timeless word of God revealed to us in Jesus has the capacity to speak in surprisingly relevant and novel ways. This point is contrast to one Christian speaker I recently heard who declared that God is no longer speaking. He claimed that all that God needed to say to us is revealed to us in the Bible and that is, therefore, all we need to know.

One of the singularly transformative moments in my seminary career was in my theology class, where Professor Tyron Inbody said to us, “Okay. Let us accept for a moment that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, word of God, and all that God wishes to say to us about anything is included in it.” Then he asked the zinger:

“So what?

“Isn’t it the case,” he continued, “that we would still need to interpret it? That we still need to make connections between its words and our times and situations? Of course we do. So, what is to prevent us, as imperfect and mistake-prone as we are, from taking the holy words of God and interpreting them in an unholy way? Every act of interpretation has the capacity for fallibility.”

I realized then that he was right. Yes, the Bible is our primary authority. In in the words of John Wesley, in it is contained all that is necessary for our salvation. But because we are far from perfect, we need the constant, steady voice of the Holy Spirit to help us interpret the Bible in the way God needs it to be embodied and enlivened in the world today.

The church may have closed the biblical canon. But it did not close the mouth of God.

A CHURCH IN THE CENTER

Ultimately, here is why I am energized to be the senior pastor of this church, regardless of what is happening in the higher levels of our denomination. We are a Christ-centered and biblically-rooted church. That is at the core of who we are, and those two values alone define the center of our life together. It is what enables us to be both warm-hearted (open to a diversity of people) and open-minded (open to a diversity of perspectives). And because we are mission-directed and connection-committed, we remember that all that we do is guided by an ethics of love.

The world today is governed by a different ethic. It is one of humiliation. It is one where a black teenager cannot walk the neighborhood at night without worrying if they will be humiliated by a police officer. It is a world where a white male is made to feel humiliated for having too much privilege, when he instead feels so helpless and poor. It is a world where a gay person called to ministry feels humiliated by a church who forces them to choose between the way they were created and the way they were called by God. It is a world where a person cannot long for a preservation of tradition without being called a bigot.

But our core values are clear: in this church, humiliation has no place in Christian community. We worship together, debate together, serve together, and love together. Not just because we have more in common than we are different (though we do). And not just because we need each other (and we do).

But because the world needs us. They may not realize it, but they need the institution of the church to be an alternative community against the brokenness of the world. It is a community not shaped by the polarizing dynamics of our society, but by an ethic of love. And because there are way too many people in the world who need Jesus, we are the body of Christ.

Now, more than ever, it is good to be the church. And I am privileged to be your senior pastor.

Let’s make God’s love real together.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE OR WANT TO RESPOND

To Learn More about the Nashville Gathering:
To learn more about the gathering in Nashville called “To Serve the Present Age,” you can read the press release. To read a wonderful reflection on the experience, check out the latest Faith Matters by Jim Harnish, one of the organizers of the event.Β To sign up to receive future updates about the group, emailΒ UMC.allofus@gmail.com.

To Learn More about the Commission on a Way Forward:
Click here to learn more about the work and members of the Commission. I invite you to be in prayer by name for those who are serving on it. If you would like to meet two of the Florida representatives on the Commission, there is a pre-Conference gathering in Orlando on Wednesday, June 7 that you can attend.

To Learn More about How We Got Here:
To read Bishop Ken Carter’s excellent historical overview of the current debate, click here.

If You Would Like to Share Your Thoughts, Questions, and Feelings:
I can speak for all six of your clergy when I say that we welcome your thoughts, questions, and feelings related to this discussion. We are here to listen and offer pastoral support to you, wherever you are in this debate. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other clergy if we can be of any assistance to you.

Midweek Message: Comfort in Continuity

Midweek Message: Comfort in Continuity

May 4, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family,

This past weekend, I felt like a teenager again.

Last Friday night, my daughter Grace and the Plant High School Wind Ensemble performed two selections that immediately transported me back to my high school days. As soon as I heard Gustav Holst’s Suite No. 1 in E-flat and the sixth movement of Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy, I was a 17-year old bass clarinetist again. I noticed my fingers instinctively moving with the notes, myself breathing in between runs, my shoulders leaning in with every dynamic contrast. It was more than just fond recollection; it was anamnetic, a kind of dynamic remembrance which brought the past vividly into the present.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, my younger daughter Madelyn performed in the Symphonic Festival, a regional middle school honor band at the University of South Florida. As I walked the grounds of the campus, I was instantly transported back to when I was part of a similar honor band at USF. As I watched her work long hours, make new friendships, and perform under a renowned conductor, I felt like a much younger version of myself was right there with her.

What intrigued me about both these experiences was not the attempt to recapture my past, or to relive my “glory days” through my daughters. Instead, I was fascinated by the power of these songs and these shared memories to connect me to something greater than myself. As much as I have changed since my teenage years, and as much as the world now feels so different from the days of my youth, there was comfort to be gained in the continuity of shared music and memory. Years from now, when both girls are my age and hear this same music performed by others, they will be able to look back on these experiences with the same kind of dynamic remembrance, linking them to their father, and to all who enjoyed those experiences before them.

It’s the perfect metaphor for what I felt Sunday morning, at Youth Sunday. Our amazing youth led us in worship by offering prayers, performing skits, leading singing, and preaching sermons that called us to freedom from our fear. They spoke with poise, conviction, vulnerability, and maturity, and I couldn’t help but think about my first ever preaching experience in 1989, as part of Youth Sunday in my hometown church.

The songs of Gustav Holst and Percy Grainger link me to instrumental ensembles then and now. But it is the music and artistry of the Holy Spirit at work through the history of the church that calls us to a grand, cosmic connection to the church’s past, present and future. Last Sunday our youth preached from the same Bible that grounds the church in God’s revelation in Christ, recited the same prayers that unite us with the communion of saints, and reminded us that the same Spirit of God is alive and active now, just as before.

No matter what may happen in this chaotic, unpredictable, and sometimes frightening world, there is comfort in the continuity of God’s love and grace. And it’s a message we need to hear today.

Last Friday, the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church rendered its decision regarding the ordination of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly gay bishop in the denomination. We knew that going into the trial in Denver last week, no decision was going to put an end to this nearly 40-year rift within the church over this debate. And indeed, when the verdict came out, it emboldened some, saddened others, and further entrenched the already polarized sides more deeply into their camps. You can read more about the verdict here as well as a fine statement by our own Bishop Ken Carter, which he offered before the verdict was issued.

That news, compounded with the seemingly endless barrage of sad and scary headlines that come across our feeds every day, have the potential of making one feel so overwhelmed by the conditions of our society, our church, and our world. Never mind the personal burdens that we all have, some of them known only by God and held tightly in the confines of our hearts.

But if you listen carefully, you can hear the continuity of the Spirit’s song. It was composed by Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. You may have performed it in the early days of your faith journey, when times felt simpler and uncluttered. But it is still performed by ensembles of faithful people today. And when you hear it, when you experience it in worship, and especially when you see it rendered by the youth of our time, it does more than bring you back to a time gone by.

It calls you to pick up your instrument again. To dust it off and sit up straight. To tune yourself to concert pitch. To take a deep breath and focus on the notes in front of you. Because the Conductor is taking the podium once again, with baton in hand. And that same music that has long been a faint echo in your memory is being called forth once more, into a world that is desperate to hear it.

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist


THIS SUNDAY: UNLEASHED!
One of the ways you can rediscover God’s song within you is through our new worship series called “Unleashed! Saying Yes to God’s Work in You.” Over the next three weeks, we will rediscover who we are in Christ, be inspired to take the next step in our spiritual commitment, and explore ways to offer our time and talents to God. You can look forward to receiving your own serve letter, which includes a “Say Yes” card that we invite you to prayerfully fill out and return on our Serve Commitment Sunday on May 21. And this Sunday, you can connect with folks in a special tent on Azeele Street who will help you be unleashed for God’s service. For more information, visit our website.

Midweek Message: Make ’em Laugh!

Midweek Message: Make ’em Laugh!

April 20, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

A minister got up before the congregation to deliver the Call to Worship, only to discover a problem with the microphone. He tapped it with his hand, blew into it loudly, knocked it a few times on the altar rail, not realizing he had failed to turn it on. While fumbling with the switch, he muttered, “There’s something wrong with this thing.”

To which the congregation responded, “And also with you.”

Until recently, American churches have overlooked a centuries-old tradition of observing the Sunday after Easter as “Holy Humor Sunday:” a day of parties, picnics, humor, practical jokes, and general merriment. The custom was rooted in the convictions of early church theologians such as Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom, who interpreted the resurrection as God playing the ultimate practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. Basically, they believed that God had the last laugh. So they coined the term “Risus paschalis,” or the “Easter laugh.”

Today, a growing number of churches across the denominational spectrum have “resurrected” Holy Humor Sunday with new terms like “Bright Sunday,” or “Holy Hilarity Sunday.” People gather in worship to share their funniest jokes and stories, enjoy light-hearted skits, sing hymn parodies, and show up in costume (think ushers in clown makeup and choirs in bathrobes). And often, the sermons are filled with one stream-of-consciousness joke after another.

And I’m happy to say that this Sunday, Hyde Park will be observing its own first-ever Holy Humor Sunday.

In the Sanctuary, the Chancel Choir and Joyful Praise Ensemble will combine forces to provide spirit-lifting, smile-inducing, toe-tapping music. We’ll have jokes, gags, and tons of other surprises, in a family-friendly “Sit-Together Sunday” so that all our kids can experience the joy of laughter in the church. And the sermon will be a live comedic radio theater production in the style of Prairie Home Companion. I’m telling you, Hyde Park folks, you won’t want to miss it, and you’ll want to bring a friend.

We’ll be combining the 8:30 services in the Sanctuary, and the 11 Magnolia service will have its own Holy Humor worship experience in the Magnolia building. And we’ll be observing a “Noisy Change Offering” throughout the morning, in which, in addition to your regular tithes and offerings, you will be encouraged to plunk your coins into metal bowls to support children and youth ministries.

And if you have a favorite joke, send it to me via email at mdevega@hydeparkumc.org. I will be sharing jokes from the congregation throughout the morning!

BRINGING LIGHTNESS TO LIFE

The point of Holy Humor Sunday, of course, is more than just jokes and laughter. It is an affirmation of how wonderful and surprising the resurrection really is. Like a good joke that catches us off-guard and puts an irrevocable smile on our faces, the resurrection of Jesus can bring lightness to life’s burdens and give our souls a lift with new hope and promise.

Years ago, on an episode of the television show Inside the Actors’ Studio with James Lipton, late-night comedian and accomplished humor writer Conan O’Brien was asked how much of comedy was a scientific formula, and how much was sheer spontaneity. O’Brien responded:

“There’s definitely formulas and we all fall back on formulas. When we’re looking at a sketch and we don’t know how to end it, there’s always the seven ways that you can end it that you’ve seen before, do you know what I mean? There’s a couple of moves that writers use, and when you’re in this business long enough, you know them…But every now and then something happens that completely surprises you. And that doesn’t happen all the time, but you’re always looking for that crazy, random, weird ending that no one expects, that is beyond formula. You don’t know how someone thought of it. You’re always hoping to come up with one of those. They don’t grow on trees, but when they come along, it’s great. (Inside the Actors’ Studio, January 26, 2009)

It’s true: with all the jokes that we’ve heard and shared, and all the one-liners that have tickled our ribs, the Risus paschalis breaks all the rules. The resurrection smashes the formulas of life as usual, upends our expectations, and calls us to live an entirely upside-down kind of life. It is joy in a time that tilts toward sorrow. It is hope in a world preoccupied with despair. Death may be the set-up, but new life is the punch line. It’s a “crazy, random, weird ending that no one expects.” But it’s one that everyone needs.

So, join us this Sunday for an unforgettable time of laughter and frivolity, and enjoy this Easter in the way it was originally intended: with a big, hearty Risus paschalis. And bask in the hilarity of the resurrection.

Grace, Peace and Laughter,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

Midweek Message: Golgotha Cross

Midweek Message: Golgotha Cross

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April 13, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Golgotha’s Cross
By Raymond Kresensky, 1892-1955

What is the cross on Golgotha to me –
But the brave young Jesus murdered there?
Roman justice debased?
Israel’s Messiah lost?

The tender lips agonized?
The active mind bewildered?
The feet, that walked fair Galilee,
Pierced by nails?

I have tried to speak
The words those lips revealed.
I have tried to think as he thought.
I have taught my feet to walk
Humbly as he walked.

And God prepared me a cross.

The arms reach out to gather in
The cripples, the blind, the weak.
The arms reach out to feed them,
To give them to drink.
In these hands the nails are driven.

But the cross points upward.
The arms fold me.
The cross lifts me.
Golgotha’s cross is the road to heaven.

On behalf of the staff and lay leadership of Hyde Park United Methodist, I wish you and yours a blessed Holy Week, and a joyous celebration of Easter. For the full s

chedule of our Holy Week and Easter services, visit hydeparkumc.org/Easter. In addition, our 9:30 and 11:00 Sanctuary services will be live streamed on our website.

Grace and Peace,

Magrey CC

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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