Dear Hyde Park Family,
Be sure to read the end of today’s Midweek Message for an important word about our upcoming congregational survey, and the way you can participate in the next critical phase of our Vision Team’s work.
First, I wish I could fully capture in words the energy coursing through our Hyde Park campus over the past week, as 416 children and 225 volunteers have experienced what I believe is consistently the best Vacation Bible School in our area.
When I first learned that “Shipwrecked!” was this year’s theme, I will admit some initial skepticism. A shipwreck doesn’t exactly elicit images of excitement, hope and joy. But let’s just face it: there are a lot of people – perhaps including you – for whom the best way to describe their lives is like feeling lost on a deserted island of hopelessness and despair.
It is also true that one of the most prevalent metaphors for the church in early Christian tradition was the ship. And if there is anything we know about ships in the Bible, it’s that they frequently encountered storms.
It turns out to be an appropriate image for us after all, for the kinds of storms we face in our lives, in our churches, in our communities, and in our world.
So, perhaps you can benefit from the same reminders that the children have received every day this week. I invite you to read each of these statements and their corresponding Bible verses prayerfully, looking for connections in your own life.
And remember: Jesus Rescues!
Monday’s Bible Point: When you are lonely . . . Jesus rescues!
Bible Story: The Parables of the Lost Coin, Sheep and Son (Luke 15)
Key Verse: “The Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10)
Tuesday’s Bible Point: When you worry . . . Jesus rescues!
Bible Story: Martha and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)
Key Verse: “The Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalms 34:19)
Wednesday Bible Point: When you struggle . . . Jesus rescues!
Key Verse: “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)
Thursday Bible Point: When you do wrong . . . Jesus rescues!
Bible Story: Jesus welcomes a criminal before dying and coming back to life. (Luke 23:26-24:12)
Key Verse: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Friday Bible Point: When you are powerless . . . Jesus rescues!
Bible Story: Peter and John heal a lame man in Jesus’ name. (Acts 3:1-26)
Key Verse: “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:19-20)
“ADVENTURE YOURSELVES IN CHRIST”
One more connection to the shipwreck theme, this one from John Wesley. In 1781, Wesley wanted to give instructions to Christians on strengthening their commitment to Christ through covenant renewal. So, he wrote a pamphlet called “Directions for Renewing our Covenant with God.”
In the introduction, he says our human situation is like that of a person exiled to a deserted island, vulnerable to the effects of sin and evil in and around us. But even in our shipwrecked state, Jesus comes like the pilot of a vessel who comes to rescue us:
“And meeting for a while with a pilot, who offers to transport him safely home, Jesus embarks on an adventure with him and everything he has in his vessel: you should do likewise. Christ offers, if you will venture forth with him, and then he will bring you home, and he will bring you to God.”
Wesley gives this simple command, which is one of my favorite Wesley phrases: “Adventure yourselves in Christ.” I love that he uses adventure as a verb. And my prayer is that you will take whatever your next step is in that adventure, to avail yourself of the lifeline God has given you in Christ to face your fears, overcome your sins, and resist evil in the world.
Indeed, Jesus rescues!
The next critical phase of the work of our Vision Team is our congregational survey, which will be distributed starting July 8. You will receive it via email and will be able to complete it online. It will take you less than 20 minutes, and we would like you to complete it within a two-week window, by July 22. We hope that all of the adults and teenagers in your household will each complete a survey.
This survey is intentionally different from other congregational surveys you may have taken in the past. It builds on the insights we heard from more than 200 of you in our recent visioning chats by going deeper into your thoughts and feelings about the church’s mission and work. These questions are designed to have you think about what is vital for us to address in the future, and we thank you for considering each question fully.
Your insights will help us clarify one of the Vision Team’s chief guiding principles: though the world around us is changing, our mission has not, and we must adapt to the challenges of our time to do the work to which God has called of us. The questions will give you an indication of the level of depth with which the Vision Team is working.
Grace, Peace, and Blessed Adventuring in Christ,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
ROGER SCHOLTZ JULY 8
We welcome back to the Hyde Park pulpit the Rev. Roger Scholtz, our interim senior pastor in 2014-15 prior to my return. He will be preaching in the Sanctuary and The Portico on July 8.
To encourage people to hear him, we will be combining the Chapel service into the Sanctuary that morning, as well as showing a video of Roger’s sermon in the 11 Magnolia service. Then, on Tuesday, July 10, Roger will be offering a special workshop on empathy at 6:30 p.m. in the Harnish Activities Center, with dinner available for purchase at 6 p.m. RSVP at hydeparkumc.org/empathy.
MIDWEEK MESSAGE RESUMES IN AUGUST
As I have done in the past, I will be taking a break from writing the Midweek Message during the month of July and will look forward to resuming them in August. Read archived editions of the Midweek Messages here.