|Jan. 18, 2018
Dear Hyde Park Family,
HOMETOWN MAN PREACHES; CAUSES UPROAR
Mathias Avram, Nazareth Gazette Special Correspondent
Nazareth, Galilee – Tensions flared as hometown product Jesus ben-Joseph made his first preaching appearance at the synagogue, offering a controversial message of inclusion and diversity.
In a sermon titled, “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me,” Jesus was initially received with thunderous approval by the standing room-only crowd.
“I remember him when he was just barely old enough to pick up a hammer,” said Zachariah Yousseff, a next-door neighbor. “Who knew he would grow up to become a preacher? His message really resonated with me. At first.”
Jesus’ opening was filled with populist messages of liberation for the oppressed, recovery of sight to the blind, good news for the poor, and freedom for the enslaved, all issues that rank high among the latest opinion polls, according to several recent surveys.
“It definitely started out as a rousing speech,” said Reuben Aretz, holding a large sign emblazoned with “I’m with Jesus” in giant letters. “He set the scroll aside, sat down, and said ‘Today the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ There was so much cheering I couldn’t hear myself think. We were right there with him.”
But according to several eyewitness accounts, the speech then took a surprising turn.
“Suddenly, he started talking about blessing foreigners. And that made me uncomfortable,” said Yousseff.
A written transcript obtained by the Gazette reveals that Jesus then referred to several ancient Hebrew stories involving immigrants from foreign countries. He mentioned God’s blessing of the widow of Zarephath, from the country of Sidon, a long-time oppressor of the Hebrew people and birthplace of evil queen Jezebel. He then described God’s healing of Naaman, a leper from Syria, a stronghold of the troublesome Canaanites.
“Clearly, that’s when Jesus started to lose the crowd,” said Aretz. “People’s signs started to droop, and the mumbling got louder. One guy next to me said, ‘Why would we want to allow people from Sidon, Syria, and all those other dung-hole countries? Get ’em out of here.'”
Tempers then flared as Jesus concluded his sermon, with people having expected Jesus to return to a more populist message.
“Things really got out of hand,” said Yousseff. “People started pressing in on the guy, threatening to lock him up in jail. At one point, people chased him out of the synagogue and over toward the ravine. I thought for sure people were going to pick him up and toss him over.”
But according to officials who later appeared on the scene, Jesus was able to escape the crowd, calmly passing through them without saying a word.
“I don’t know what happened there at the end,” said Aretz. “One minute we all wanted to kill him. And then, just like that, he was gone.”
“I just don’t know. Gives you something to think about, I guess.”
(This is a developing story. For the latest updates, visit Luke 4:16-30).
Grace and peace,
Nearly 3,000 people celebrated Christmas Eve at one of the ten services held at our Hyde Park campus and The Portico campus. Our sincere thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who worked diligently to make family members, friends, neighbors and strangers feel welcome. Here’s a glimpse of some of those on campus that day.
Avoid the mall madness and provide meaningful gifts. We are offering everyone another option for gifts. You can honor your friends and family by making a contribution to one of our mission partners, that range from working to end hunger worldwide to assisting local farm workers to helping families in poverty in our city.
Shopping couldn’t be easier.
Browse The List. Make your selections. Submit your payment.
As we watch the ongoing weather devastation in Texas and Florida, our United Methodist Committee on Relief is already actively providing relief assessing needs. Florida Bishop Ken Carter has issued a challenge to collect 4,000 Flood Buckets to provide relief in Texas, and more will be needed in Florida.
Here are five ways you can offer direct assistance to people in need:
- VOLUNTEER TO SERVE. Sign a waiver, tell us your skills and get on the list with this form.
- DONATIONS FOR FLORIDA. Non-perishable food items, water, batteries, and other hurricane supplies for immediate delivery. If there are items you stockpiled that you no longer need, or want to purchase items, bring them to the Courtyard outside the Sanctuary Sunday.
- FLOOD BUCKETS (CLEANING KITS). The Florida Conference is once again challenging all churches to participate in a statewide flood bucket effort, with a goal of assembling 4,000 buckets. View the whole contents list here in a downloadable PDF. Bring your completed buckets to the Ministry Offices.
- HYGIENE KITS. Basic health and hygiene products fit in a one-gallon plastic bag. Contents and instructions for assembly are here in a downloadable PDF. Bring your completed buckets to the Ministry Offices.
- MONEY. Consider making a financial contribution to flood relief, all of which goes directly to people in need. Make your check payable to Hyde Park United Methodist, and designate it for “Hurricane.” Alternatively, you may donate directly to UMCOR online here.
Our state and national governments are providing assistance. Senator Bill Nelson outlines many ways you can receive help here.
Things are a little different here this week due to cleanup from Hurricane Irma. We continue to lift in prayer all those affected by the storm, and those working to clean up.
- Ministry Offices will be open again starting Wednesday, Sept. 13
- 6:30 p.m Prayer service Wednesday, Sept. 13 in the Chapel on the Hyde Park campus. Open to all who desire prayer in community.
- We will have Chancel Choir and Children’s Choir Practice at their normal schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 13
- No Dinner, Adult Small Groups, Youth, Nursery or Children’s programming on Wednesday, Sept. 13
- Aldersgate Corner Bookstore and Coffee Shop (Hyde Park campus) is closed until Sunday, Sept. 20
- The Portico Cafe will be open with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday evenings Sept. 13 and 14 until 7 p.m. – It is located at 1001 N. Florida in downtown Tampa
- New Small Groups, Classes and New Member Class will start next Wednesday, Sept. 20
- DocNight Screenagers at The Portico campus is cancelled
- Missions Team meeting (Wednesday, Sept. 13) is cancelled
- Finance Team meeting is happening as scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 13
- Small Blessings Preschool will be open on Thursday, Sept. 14 as scheduled
- Trustees Team meeting is moved to Thursday, Sept. 14 – 5:30 p.m. at The Portico Cafe
- Family Fun Night is still happening Friday, Sept. 15