The Midweek Message

from Senior Pastor Magrey deVega

 

 

 

Midweek Message: Live! From the Red Carpet!

Midweek Message: Live! From the Red Carpet!

Dear Hyde Park Family, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 7:20 p.m. Daydreaming a bit while watching the Oscars’ red carpet coverage … Ryan Seacrest: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our very special broadcast. We’re here, live from the red carpet just outside Jerusalem, awaiting...

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Midweek Message: What Do We Do With Leviticus?

Midweek Message: What Do We Do With Leviticus?

Dear Hyde Park Family, Here’s a tidbit of trivia: There are 613 commandments in the Torah, from Genesis through Exodus. Some Jewish traditions explain that the total number can be broken down into 365 “negative” commandments (“Thou shall not …”) corresponding with the...

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Midweek Message: You Have Everything You Need

Midweek Message: You Have Everything You Need

Dear Hyde Park Family, Today’s daily reading in our Bible Project 2020 finds the wandering Israelites in the middle of a harsh, vast wilderness, somewhere between the bondage of Egypt behind them and the promise of Canaan ahead. Yet as hard as their plight was, just...

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Midweek Message: True Justice

Midweek Message: True Justice

Dear Hyde Park Family, “The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.” Those are the stirring words of Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and activist who has spent the last thirty years advocating for reform in our criminal justice system. He has...

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Midweek Message: The Three Questions

Midweek Message: The Three Questions

Dear Hyde Park Family, Today is my 47th birthday, which means among other things, I have a lot of renewing to do. I have to run over to the DMV and renew the registration on my car. While Grace is back for a break from college, we are going to renew our passports,...

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Midweek Message: Mary’s Spirit Song

Midweek Message: Mary’s Spirit Song

Dear Advent Pilgrims: In last Sunday’s sermon, I referenced these alternative lyrics to the popular song “Mary, Did You Know?” by a woman named Jennifer Henry. Here is the full text, which I think best captures the fierce tenacity of Mary’s liberating word for the...

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Midweek Message: Have You Joined the Journey?

Midweek Message: Have You Joined the Journey?

Dear Advent Pilgrims, As you continue making plans to celebrate Christmas with family and friends two weeks from now, I have a different question for you: What are your plans after Christmas? After the gifts have been exchanged and the decorations put away, what will...

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Midweek Message: Is God on your Christmas List?

Midweek Message: Is God on your Christmas List?

Dear Hyde Park Family, Is God on your Christmas list? That’s an appropriate question, given that Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday, after all, not anyone else’s. So if anyone deserves a present from you, it is the one who was given as a gift for the world. And the...

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Midweek Message: A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Midweek Message: A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Dear Thanksgiving Celebrants, On behalf of the clergy, staff, and lay leadership of Hyde Park United Methodist, I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving Day. I invite you to spend a brief moment today reflecting on these words from Abraham Lincoln, who officially...

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Midweek Message: “Merry Almost Christmas”

Midweek Message: “Merry Almost Christmas”

Dear Hyde Park Family, During dinner with my family in St. Petersburg last Sunday night, while most of us were discussing the misery of another Bucs loss and catching up on life, my father turned to me out of the blue and asked me: “Did you know you can be paid $1,000...

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Midweek Message: We are the Church Together

Midweek Message: We are the Church Together

Dear Hyde Park Family, Not long ago I came across a wonderful poem titled “The Church Resides in Us” by Travis East, which you can read in its entirety here. I was particularly drawn to this last stanza: Lord, help us to remember We are the shadow of your cross That...

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Midweek Message: From Suffering to Hope

Midweek Message: From Suffering to Hope

Dear Hyde Park Family, My daily devotional time this year has been spent following the same Scripture reading plan that we will be following next year for The Bible Project 2020, which you can learn more about here. I’m excited that in the few weeks since we opened...

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Midweek Message: The Mask We Should Wear

Midweek Message: The Mask We Should Wear

Dear Hyde Park Family, I attended a conservative Christian school from kindergarten to high school, which formed me in the faith in ways that still shape me today. But I also remember many of the prohibitions imposed on us students: No listening to secular rock music....

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Midweek Message: “Not Dead Yet!”

Midweek Message: “Not Dead Yet!”

Dear Hyde Park Family, Who knew that such a good spiritual truth could come out of the American Bar Association? A few years ago, a lawyer friend of mine sent me an article from the ABA website with this delicious lead sentence: “An Ohio man who appeared in court on...

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Midweek Message: Hoping They Get Dripped On

Midweek Message: Hoping They Get Dripped On

Dear Hyde Park Family,   One of my favorite comedians growing up was Paul Reiser, star of several 80s sitcoms and a very funny author. I remember reading his book Couplehood in college, and to this day I remember his reflections on showering:   I’ve...

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Midweek Message: Bloom Where You’re Planted

Midweek Message: Bloom Where You’re Planted

Dear Hyde Park Family, I don’t remember the first time I ever heard the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted,” but the phrase has stuck with me. Basically, it’s an invitation to make the most of your circumstances and look for ways to turn the most miserable situation...

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Midweek Message: Finding God in the Bright Side

Midweek Message: Finding God in the Bright Side

Dear Hyde Park Family, Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly difficult time, I found it hard to envision brighter days ahead. I woke up one morning earnestly praying that God would give me some “manna” for the day, some tangible reminder that God...

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Midweek Message: Praying … without Words?

Midweek Message: Praying … without Words?

Dear Hyde Park Family, One of my favorite social activities is to play card games. Years ago, in seminary, my friends and I would play every Thursday night after classes were finished. Our group included a couple who had been married a long time. We would often play...

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Midweek Message: The Bible Project 2020

Midweek Message: The Bible Project 2020

Dear Hyde Park Family, Some of the most serendipitous privileges of ministry occur when I am planning a funeral with a family, and they hand me their loved one’s personal Bible. Its pages often contain highlighted scriptures, underlined words, and handwritten notes in...

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Midweek Message: Take a Breath and Get a GRIP

Midweek Message: Take a Breath and Get a GRIP

Dear Hyde Park Family, There are few things more frustrating than being unable to take in a full breath of air. While living in Iowa, I took on the overly ambitious task of building a large deck around my house. Admittedly, when it comes to home improvement projects,...

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Midweek Message: In the Wake of the Storm

Midweek Message: In the Wake of the Storm

Dear Hyde Park Family, We find ourselves as a human community in the aftermath of yet another catastrophic storm. The images coming out of the Bahamas have been horrifying and heartbreaking, as we think about the unimaginable devastation that many people in the...

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Midweek Message: “Where I’m From”

Midweek Message: “Where I’m From”

Dear Hyde Park Family, Perhaps you heard National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program last Wednesday, and a segment titled “'Where I'm From': A Crowdsourced Poem That Collects Your Memories Of Home.'” It featured a poem titled “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon,...

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Midweek Message: Melodic Defiance

Midweek Message: Melodic Defiance

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last Friday in Milwaukee, a man sustained non-life threatening injuries after being shot near his home. Later that evening, just a few blocks away, another man received multiple gunshots to his legs. But today’s Midweek Message is not about bad...

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Midweek Message: Making Their Story Our Own

Midweek Message: Making Their Story Our Own

Aug. 15, 2019 Dear Hyde Park Family, Last Sunday, we started a new worship series titled “Hall of Faith,” based on the Bible’s “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11. In that sermon,  I reminisced about my visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 1996, to...

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Midweek Message: A Time for Renewal

Midweek Message: A Time for Renewal

Dear Hyde Park Family, Happy Independence Day! I hope this day brings you moments of celebration, connection with friends and family, and gratitude for the freedom to live into your God-given potential. Let us remember that our truest and most enduring freedom is that...

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Midweek Message: Hearing Music in the Mundane

Midweek Message: Hearing Music in the Mundane

Dear Hyde Park Family, In 2007, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote an article about a fascinating social experiment involving acclaimed classical violinist Joshua Bell, widely regarded as one of the finest musicians in the world. Bell has performed in...

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Midweek Message: Implementing the Vision

Midweek Message: Implementing the Vision

Dear Hyde Park Family, For today’s Midweek Message, I thought we could give you an update on everything that has happened over the past six months, since our Vision Plan was unanimously adopted last December. Read ahead for all the exciting developments as we claim...

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Midweek Message: This Is Where You Come In

Midweek Message: This Is Where You Come In

Dear Hyde Park Family, Pop quiz, pop culture fans: What do Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Fiddler on the Roof, and Wayne’s World have in common? How about this: in each film, a main character turns to the camera and addresses the audience. The technical description for...

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Midweek Message: Together as One this Summer!

Midweek Message: Together as One this Summer!

Dear Hyde Park Family, Ah, summer. Do you know where the word summer came from? It’s from the Old English word sumor, which is derived from the early Germanic word sumer, which in turn came from the early Indo-European word sem. And here’s the kicker. Do you know what...

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Midweek Message: The Long Shadow of Mental Illness

Midweek Message: The Long Shadow of Mental Illness

Dear Hyde Park Family, In 1949, the National Association for Mental Health (now Mental Health America) began designating the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a good time to acknowledge the prevalence of mental health challenges in our society, and...

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Midweek Message: To Grace, on Your Graduation

Midweek Message: To Grace, on Your Graduation

Dear Hyde Park Family, At 4 p.m. on Friday, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, my older daughter Grace will be among roughly 600 graduates of Plant High School, walking across the stage, turning their tassels, and embarking on an exciting new chapter of their lives....

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Midweek Message: Neither Half Empty nor Half Full

Midweek Message: Neither Half Empty nor Half Full

Dear Hyde Park Family, I have a new answer to an age-old question. I’m sure you’ve heard it before: “Is the glass half empty, or half full?” Answer it as half full, and you are an optimist. You see that things could be a whole lot worse, and you choose to focus on the...

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Midweek Message: The Value of Scars

Midweek Message: The Value of Scars

Dear Hyde Park Family, “Jesus showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20) Apparently, Jesus’ resurrected body had some unique abilities, like walking through closed doors and ascending into the clouds. But...

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Midweek Message: God Loves a Good Plot Twist

Midweek Message: God Loves a Good Plot Twist

Dear Easter People, American Movie Classics has ranked the top ten greatest plot twists in film history. You may not find the top three surprising: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke Skywalker discovers the truth about Darth Vader. (“I am your father!”) Planet of the Apes....

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Midweek Message: A Carol for Holy Week

Midweek Message: A Carol for Holy Week

“A Carol” Amy Carmichael There are two Bethlehems in the land, Two little Bethlehems there O Wise Men, do you understand To seek Him everywhere? The heavenly Child lies holily, The heavenly Child lies lowlily, No crown on His soft hair.  There are three crosses on the...

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Midweek Message: Why Palm Sunday?

Midweek Message: Why Palm Sunday?

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, As Holy Week draws near, we approach some familiar narrative territory: the waving of palm branches, the washing of feet, the breaking of bread, a friend’s betrayal and the agony of death. We are also aware of the tragic turn that the crowds...

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Midweek Message: My Epiphany at Tiffany’s

Midweek Message: My Epiphany at Tiffany’s

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last weekend, my daughters and I enjoyed a quick three-day trip to New York City to celebrate Grace’s eighteenth birthday. We saw three amazing Broadway shows: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II," and “Be...

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Midweek Message: What to Do in the Wilderness

Midweek Message: What to Do in the Wilderness

Dear Hyde Park Family, Lent is a time to acknowledge and embrace the wilderness experiences in our faith. It is possible that even right now, you are undergoing a period of dryness, doubt, or disbelief in your spiritual journey, a kind of wilderness of the soul. If...

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Midweek Message: Be Still and Breathe

Midweek Message: Be Still and Breathe

This post begins with the fable of the Elephant and the Frog. It illustrates the value of being still and breathing. It also provides an introduction to the upcoming Seeking Stillness Retreat scheduled for March 29 and 30 at The Portico campus. The Portico also hosts weekly silence and meditation. Schedule at theportico.org.

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Midweek Message: Happy Pi Day! (God Loves You!)

Midweek Message: Happy Pi Day! (God Loves You!)

March 14, 2019 [Setting: This past Tuesday, in the living room of the parsonage. A conversation between my older daughter Grace and me.] Grace: Hey, Dad. What are you working on? Me: [mumbling] My Midweek Message. I’m kind of stuck. Grace: What is it about? Me: Well,...

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Midweek Message: Facing Temptation

Midweek Message: Facing Temptation

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, Most paintings of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness show both Jesus and Satan, and their portrayals often couldn’t be more different. Jesus usually appears with bright, shimmering glory, and Satan is often a...

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Midweek Message: The Church We Long for is…

Midweek Message: The Church We Long for is…

Dear Hyde Park Disciples, Well, the people have spoken. You all did, actually, and the Spirit through you. Last Sunday, at the conclusion of each sermon, we invited you to call out the words or phrases that came to mind to complete the statement “The...

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Midweek Message: A Pastoral Word for the General Conference

Midweek Message: A Pastoral Word for the General Conference

Dear Hyde Park Family, Happy Valentine’s Day! On this day when we celebrate human love, I invite you to take some time to remember with prayerful love our United Methodist Church, as it prepares for an important gathering in about ten days. From Feb. 23-26, 862...

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Midweek Message: Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Midweek Message: Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Dear Hyde Park Family, You may remember that in the Fall of 2017, as we were beginning the visioning process, I asked you to share your response to this question: “Twenty-five years from now, if a reporter were to write an article about this church, what would your...

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Midweek Message: Together is Beautiful

Midweek Message: Together is Beautiful

Dear Hyde Park Family, Like many of you, I will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, with more interest in the commercials than in the game itself. I have already viewed many of them online, taking a special interest in one for Coca-Cola. It’s called “A Coke is a...

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Midweek Message: Does It Spark Your Joy?

Midweek Message: Does It Spark Your Joy?

Dear Hyde Park Family, So, what sparks your joy? That’s the trendy question of the day for fans of the popular Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” based on her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and...

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Midweek Message: Where Church Happens

Midweek Message: Where Church Happens

Dear Hyde Park Family, As part of my seminary education, I spent a year working at the St. Vincent Hotel, an emergency overnight shelter for the homeless in Dayton, Ohio. It was during that time that my supervisor, a Catholic monk named Brother Al, gave me one of the...

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Midweek Message: Adventure Yourselves!

Midweek Message: Adventure Yourselves!

Jan. 10, 2019 Dear Hyde Park Adventurers, First, three huge words of gratitude! 1. Thank you to the 200 volunteers who, along with our talented staff, helped pull off another powerful season of Christmas services. You helped welcome a record number of worshippers to...

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Midweek Message: Where God Was Homeless, We Are At Home

Midweek Message: Where God Was Homeless, We Are At Home

Dear Hyde Park Family, “The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; In the place where she was homeless All men are at home. The crazy stable close at hand, With shaking timber and shifting sand, Grew a stronger...

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