April 6, 2017
Dear Lenten Pilgrims,
From start to finish, last Sunday was a special day for this church.
Considering both events together made me remember a lesson from my days as a college biology major. In genetics, there are two terms that describe the basis of all life: genotype and phenotype. The genotype of an organism is its genetic makeup, the DNA that has been inherited by its parents and ancestry, and is the incontrovertible essence of who they are. The phenotype is the unique way that genetic material is expressed, into the physical characteristics that are visible to the outside observer.
An organism has no say in its genotype, but there are lots of factors that determine its phenotype. Environment, personal behavior, temperament, and conscious choices all influence one’s external appearance, even despite what their genes might dictate.
For over two decades, this church has become clear about its DNA. We share a common theological and spiritual identity as a mainline, centerfield people who are centered in Christ and rooted in the Bible. We are also a people who are warm-hearted (open to a diversity of people) and open-minded (open to a diversity of perspectives). Making God’s love real is in our genes.
But on Sunday, we marveled at how a God of extravagant variety used two very different ministries to show the diversity of ways that our DNA can be expressed in the world.
In our youth, we saw the genetics of the faith transmitted to a new generation of Christians, who are part of a culture that is dramatically different from the one most of us were raised in. They will live out their commitment to Jesus in what is essentially a post-Christian world, in which — for perhaps the first time since the fourth century A.D. — religious conviction is no longer assumed in western culture. Yet these kids, with their array of skills, passions, dreams, and backgrounds, have each pledged to follow Jesus, and share with the world the love of God in their own unique way.
Then on Sunday night, the new worship service at The Portico reminded us of why our downtown campus is such an important part of this church’s present and future. It takes the DNA of this church and expresses it in a worship style that is participatory, spontaneous and organic, with weekly communion and quiet moments of meditation. It places Hyde Park on the front porch of spiritually seeking individuals who are looking for a community to converse, connect and help change the community.
One person in the church who attended the service put it this way: “I am so proud to be a part of this church that spreads its wings to fly with no absolute assurance of a safe landing place, just faith in what God’s love can do.”
Genotypes are given; phenotypes are a matter of choice and context. Both the confirmation of our youth and the ongoing birth of The Portico remind us that the Spirit is alive and well and at work, expressing the heritage and ancestry of Hyde Park United Methodist in new and exciting ways.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
PALM SUNDAY, HOLY WEEK, AND EASTER
Join us this Sunday as we join in the praise and joy that is Palm Sunday, and begin the journey through the passion and drama of Holy Week. There will be services at both the Hyde Park campus and The Portico campus on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and you will want to see the full .
Then, on Easter morning, April 16, join us for one of six worship services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the new life we can claim in victory. Check out the full schedule here and invite your neighbors and friends to join us for an experience of God’s transformative love.
We also encourage you to help us provide warm hospitality for the thousands of guests that will be joining us that day, by signing up here or on the board in the Courtyard this Sunday. Finally, we encourage you to park as far away from the worship venues as you are comfortable in walking, to save the closer spots for visitors looking for a place to park.