My Word for Lent

Dear Lenten Pilgrims,

Last year, I gave up coffee for Lent. It went as you would expect; I found myself longing for Easter resurrection many times.

This year, I’ve decided a different approach. It doesn’t involve giving up something as it does focusing on something. It is captured in a word that I’m claiming as a guide over the next forty days.

Savor.

I’m going to focus as much attention as I can on savoring every aspect of being alive.

  • Savoring each conversation.
  • Savoring each bite.
  • Savoring each breath.
  • Savoring each punchline.
  • Savoring each sunset.
  • Savoring each beautiful day.
  • Savoring each ugly day.
  • Savoring every sensation of being alive.

Other traditions might call this mindfulness. It is a focus on the present that counters grief (which pulls us into the past) and fear (which pulls us into the future.) Savoring is a spiritual companion to gratitude, since one cannot be thankful without pausing, and pausing is an invitation to savoring.

In a way, I guess I am giving up something for Lent after all.

  • Giving up hurriedness.
  • Giving up envy.
  • Giving up shame.
  • Giving up boredom.
  • Giving up excess.
  • Giving up selfishness.
  • Giving up distractions.
  • Giving up life as usual, to gain life as God intends.

I’ll see how it goes. And yes, I’ll be savoring every sip of coffee.

Grace and Peace,

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

IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS

Join us this Sunday as we begin a new Lenten worship series that will lead us to follow Jesus more closely over the next forty days. We’ll explore the story of Jesus’ temptation in Mark’s gospel, and learn practical guidance on dealing with our own temptations.

ALL THINGS EASTER

Visit our website to keep up with all the latest opportunities for worship, service, and small groups during Lent and Holy Week.

OFFICE CLOSED THIS MONDAY

In observance of Presidents’ Day, our offices will be closed this Monday.

 
 
 

Defining Moments

Dear Hyde Park Family,

 

What are the defining moments of your life?

All of us can point to memories that we consider pivotal in shaping who we are today. Perhaps you think of the day you got married, the birth of a child, or the moment you survived a near-death episode. These moments change you, leaving an indelible imprint.

For Jesus, the transfiguration was a defining moment in his life. On a mountaintop with his three closest friends, Jesus appeared glowing white, accompanied by Elijah and Moses. And he heard a voice from heaven: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

The synoptic gospel writers tell this story about halfway in their gospels, to suggest that the transfiguration was not just important to the life of Jesus, it was important to the salvation story of all humanity. The presence of Elijah and Moses, the words heard at Christ’s baptism, and the allusion to mountaintop experiences throughout the Bible all point to the grand sweep of salvation history.

The transfiguration story is therefore a defining moment for all those who walk the life of faith. Will we choose to stay on the mountaintop, as Peter, James, and John preferred, or will we enter a life of self-sacrifice, commitment, and surrender to God?

Wesleyan Christians refer to the daily decisions to follow Jesus as the process of sanctification. It is the grace-empowered journey of slowly being conformed to the image of Christ in every aspect of our lives. Catherine Livingston was a nineteenth-century Methodist married to the preacher Freeborn Garretson. In an entry in her personal diary, she reflected on the defining moment in her life, when she chose to identify with Christ, in his death and resurrection:

I find myself more than ever engaged for sanctification. I desire to rest in nothing short of this great privilege. I want to serve my God with a perfect heart and willing mind. I have long seen a great beauty in this doctrine, and long to bear witness to the truth of it. I last night dreamed I was crucified. Be it so, Lord Jesus! Let me die that I may live, and that my life may be hid with you. Such a day of heaviness and travail of soul I have not experienced in a long time. (Garretson Family papers, UMC Archives, Drew University)

 
This Sunday, we celebrate Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the season of Lent. Join us for this important last step of preparation before we begin our journey to the cross.

In the words of Peter on the mountain, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”

Grace and Peace,

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

The State of the Church

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Last Sunday night, we had our annual Leadership Gathering of elected committee members and ministry area volunteers. It was a time of connecting with other leaders in the church, learning about our church’s organizational structure, and anticipating the year ahead.

Our guest was our Bishop Tom Berlin, who offered insights into leadership in a large church, the hopeful future of our denomination, and reflections on the resurrection based on his book, The Third Day: Living the Resurrection, which we gave as a gift to all our leaders.

It also included my annual “State of the Church” address, in which I observed the many reasons to be grateful for over the past year, and offered the opportunities and challenges for us in the year ahead.

So, in lieu of a longer Midweek Message, I encourage you to watch my address here.

Thank you to our amazing collection of leaders and volunteers, as we embark on an exciting year ahead.

Grace and Peace,

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

The Treasure of True Friendships

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Like many of you, I watched the 80s NBC sitcom “The Golden Girls,” about a group of four elderly women who forged a deep and enduring friendship. You might also remember the opening lines of their theme song:

Thank you for being a friend.

Travel down the road and back again.

Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.

Many of our most popular television shows explored the beauty of true friendships, from “Cheers” (“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name”) to “Friends” (“I’ll be there for you / When the rain starts to fall”) and even as far back as Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (“Won’t you be my neighbor?”)

We all grew up knowing the value of having a close group of friends to be by our side, to help us face the highs and lows of life.

So, what’s gone wrong?

Many studies over recent years have chronicled our current “Friendship Recession.” The American Perspectives Survey, conducted by the Survey Center of American Life, (American Enterprise Institute, 2021) found that Americans have fewer closer friendships than they did in 1990, talk to their friends less often, and rely less on friends for personal support.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is a factor, but there are other explanations for this downward trend, including the fact that Americans are working longer hours and traveling more for work than before, diminishing time to make and maintain solid friendships. (American Enterprise Institute, 2021)

THIS SUNDAY: STRONGER FRIENDSHIPS

We will explore the value of friendships this Sunday as part of our current worship series “You are Not Alone.” We will gain insight from passages from the Bible’s wisdom literature – Ecclesiastes and Proverbs – including these famous verses: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil.” (Ecclesiastes 5:9) and “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” (Proverbs 27:9)

We will also learn from the great C.S. Lewis, who wrote an essay on friendship in his book, “The Four Loves:”

“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one … It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)

See you Sunday, as we rediscover the power of friendship, and learn ways to strengthen them.

Grace and Peace,

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

The Year In Review

Dear Hyde Park Faithful:

As we begin a new year of ministry at the church, we want to say, “Thank you!” Because of your generosity and faithfulness, this church made a profound impact in our community and around the world in 2023.

  • On Christmas Eve, 2,500 worshippers heard the good news of Christ’s birth, culminating a week of various services in which 4,000 people worshipped with us.
  • Our Harnish Center has served as a cold weather shelter eight times last year and already once this year, serving up to 80 persons each night.
  • Weekly worship attendance continues to be at or above pre-pandemic levels, and reaching new people through our online service, our Hyde Park services, and our 1001 gathering at The Portico.
  • Our children, youth, and Small Blessings preschool ministries have done amazing ministry to the young people and families in our congregation. We also opened a brand-new, beautiful playground on the Hyde Park campus.
  • We served over 9,000 meals at the Hyde Park and Portico campuses to people experiencing homelessness. We are also among the first institutions to receive Breadcoin to serve our unhoused guests, which you can read about [PROVIDE LINK, BELOW]
  • We gained over 90 new members, welcomed 28 baptisms, and had over 3,000 hours of personal contact through our congregational care volunteers.
  • Our most recent generosity campaign has brought in over 40 new commitments, and over 140 people who are increasing their pledge from last year.
  • And because of your faithful giving, we were able to finish 2023 with a surplus, enabling us to cover all our church expenditures and fund major improvements.

This spirit of joy and excitement is captured beautifully by a woman named Donna N., who said, “After leaving the church where I had grown up and served for more than 50 years, I didn’t know if I would ever find a place that felt like home again. Then a friend invited me to Hyde Park and after one visit, I knew I was home.

You helped us finish last year strong, and you are helping us make 2024 even more amazing. This Sunday, at our annual church conference, the Finance Committee will propose a budget that meets our threshold of being underwritten by your pledges. It once again promises to be an exciting year of ministries and programs for our community and our world.

Thank you, Hyde Park, for making a difference, and for making God’s love real!

With Gratitude,

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

THIS SUNDAY: STRONGER FAMILIES

We continue our worship series “You are Not Alone” by exploring our most personal relationships of all: those within our own families. We’ll listen for what Paul said to the Ephesians, and discover ways to strengthen our relationships with our own family members.

 

FOSTERING CONNECTIONS SEMINAR THIS WEDNESDAY

Coinciding with our January sermon series “You Are Not Alone,” we will be offering another FREE seminar by licensed psychologist, Dr. Erica J. Clark. It takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 6:30pm. She will be discussing a variety of topics including fostering new connections, communicating effectively, building healthy boundaries and navigating conflict. Learn more and register here.

The Annunciation (in Rhymed Narration)

Dear Hyde Park Family,

We are ten days away from that grand, holy night
When we’ll gather for carols and warm candlelight

To celebrate Christmas, and Jesus Christ’s birth
And God’s gift of love given to the whole earth

But first there’s this Sunday: Advent Week Three!
When we will thank God for the girl named Mary!

We’ll re-read her story, in Luke chapter one
When God called on her to give birth to a Son.

What was it like, as that story unfolded?
When Mary was called, as Isaiah foretold it?

“A young woman will come and give birth to a boy
Immanuel’s the name that this boy will employ.”

Well, come with me now, to that most holy scene,
And imagine with me all that we would have seen.

Back two thousand years, to zero B.C.
(Or as academics might say, back to 4 B.C.E.)

We come to her home, and we knock on her door
We hear footsteps approaching, from the indoors

She appears before us, and the first thing we see,
Is that Mary’s so young! Just barely a teen!

What we also can see is how common she appears
No glitz, and no sparkle, not mature past her years

As a girl, she’s quite plain in a quite troubled time
Could this be what Isaiah said would be God’s sign?

Then suddenly, from nowhere, with a loud boom
Came the presence of something quite big in the room

We jump to our feet! We jump here and there!
For an angel’s appeared here, right out of thin air!

“Mary” he says to her, “Peace be with you”
“The Lord is with you and he favors you, too”

We all look at Mary, and she’s white as a ghost
She’s never played host to a Heavenly Host

What is this girl thinking, while she’s standing right there?
Is she frightened with fear, is she gripped with a scare?

Then we see, in her eyes: she is troubled, confused.
(If to you came an angel, wouldn’t you be so, too?)

She’s a normal young teen in a Nazareth town
Just the typical type that we’d see all around

In a sense, she’s no different from the you’s and the me’s
So she wonders, “Why me, Lord? Tell me, won’t you please?”

We guess the angel reads minds, ‘cause he rightly reads ours
He says, “Don’t be afraid, Mary.” And he says this with power:

“God has richly blessed you, and soon you will give birth
To God’s one only Son, the Messiah, on earth.”

“God will make him a king, somewhat like ones you’ve known
Just like David his ancestor was king long ago.”

“He will be a great king, over all Jacob’s kin
And the kingdom he rules?  It will never end.”

Then Mary opened her mouth, and she sounded quite tense
As she started to speak, her words really made sense.

She said, “How can this be, I am such a young girl!”
I cannot be pregnant, there’s no way in the world!”

(She does make a point, she’s not married just yet
And the baby-maker-kit is a two-person set!)

Then the angel replied, his voice strong and secure
He responded with words that were divinely assured:

“The Spirit of God upon you will arrive”
And then in your womb the Messiah will thrive.”

“God’s power will rest upon you and this one;
For this reason, your child will be called God’s Only Son

“And in case you forget this, please let me remind you
Of this one certain truth: there’s nothing God cannot do.”

We are speechless by now, and not one of us speaks
We’ve lost touch with reality, in some bad campy flick

And again, we see Mary. She’s different somehow
No longer afraid, she’s more confident now

She says, “I am the Lord’s; may this happen to me.”
Then the angel, at once, could no longer be seen.

We stand blinking, perplexed, trying to pick up the clues
Is the prophet’s prediction now coming true?

Could it be, we now wonder, that our wait is no more?
Isaiah’s words are fulfilled, as we’d heard them before?

The young woman foretold in the days from the past
Is this Mary, this one who was least of the last

And Jesus Christ, God with us, this boy Immanuel
Will come down to earth to proclaim, “All is Well!”

Here is what’s powerful to hear every Christmas:
It’s not just that God came, but how God comes to us

God came through some people, just like you and like me
Not special-brand people, just from good family trees

When God’s Love Became Real in a most holy birth
God chose plain, simple folks, the most common on earth

So it shows that when God does extraordinary deeds
God prefers to use folks just like you and like me

You don’t need special training, or a call to the cloth
You don’t need to use words like “Thus sayeth” and “Doth”

All God wants from you now is a true, open heart
To say yes to the Lord when God gives you your part

In a tension-filled world that is battered and bruised
In a time when deep anger and resentment are fused

When we wonder how God might come redeem us again
When we wonder how God might come save us from sin

There is only one answer, from the Bible we’ve heard
That we’re Joseph and Mary and we can bear God’s Word

Will you choose today to say yes to God’s call?
To say yes to the one who was born in a stall?

Will you not wait to have it all start to make sense
And like Mary declare to God obedience?

The world needs Christ today, and to that there’s no doubt
The Christ that’s within you, you must boldly give out.

In the name of our God who created the heavens,
And redeems us, sustains us, we all say, Amen.

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

Let’s Get This Straight

Dear Advent Pilgrims,

This Sunday our attention turns to John the Baptist, a persistent presence every Advent journey. He meets us, whether we are ready for him or not, to echo the challenge by the prophet Isaiah, the original “voice crying from the wilderness:”

“Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.”

The word “straight” is Mark’s favorite word. Its Greek form occurs seventeen times throughout his gospel, but it is translated in different ways. It most often occurs as immediately, (or “straightaway,” in the King James Version), which we tend to associate with being “instantaneous.”

But it also has the sense of being “straight up” or “straight forward.” Consider how this nuance changes the way some of these passages in Mark might be read:

  • “Then Jesus perceived with clarity and focusin his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves.” (Mark 2:8)

  • “But when the grain is ripe, he goes in with his sickle with discipline and efficiency, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:29)
  • “But Jesus spoke to them with straight talk, and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’” (Mark 6:50)
  • “Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Then he was able to see straight and true and followed him on the way.” (Mark 10:52

From the beginning of his gospel until the very end, Mark’s primary concern is that we understand that living the life of Jesus involves focus, discipline, and intentionality. Follow the commandments. Don’t deviate. Stay focused and don’t lose track.

Our Advent series is called “What God Wants for Christmas,” and John calls us to put this one thing at the top of our gift-giving lift. Give God your obedience to the way and will of Christ in your life. Spend time over these coming days to confess openly and prayerfully all those things that have kept you from a full and free obedience to God.

According to Mark, there can be no better preparation for Christmas than the one you do in your own soul. Let us all prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight.
 
Advent Blessings,

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

An Exciting Year Ahead

Dear Hyde Park Family,

With Advent starting this Sunday, it is the official start of the new Christian liturgical year. We look forward to a fresh arrival of Jesus Christ in our lives, and anticipate all that God will be doing in and through this church throughout the upcoming year.

So, in that spirit of anticipation, today’s Midweek Message is a sneak peek into an exciting year of worship in 2024:

2024 Worship Series

You are Not Alone: Spiritual Insights for Creating Community

January 7 to February 11

We crave connection with one another, along with healthy, life-giving relationships that enable us to live fully as God intends it. This series will explore various kinds of human connection and discover spiritual insights for helping us have healthier friendships and families, and a stronger social fabric.

January 7                       “You are Not Alone”                                       Genesis 2:15-25

January 14                    “Baptized into Community”                               Mark 4:1-11

January 21                     “Stronger Families”                                  Ephesians 5:21-33

January 28                     “Stronger Friendships”                         Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

February 4                     “A Stronger Social Fabric”                         Romans 12:9-21

 

 

In the Shadow of the Cross: Joining Jesus on the Road to Calvary

February 14 to March 24

Lent is a time of introspection and obedience. Each Sunday, we will center on various aspects of our lives that we should surrender to God, and exchange them for the cross. We will remember that Jesus not only died on the cross in our place, he showed us how to take up the cross and die to ourselves, so that we can experience the new life and transformation of Easter.

February 14                   Ashes to Ashes                                   Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

February 18                   How to Be Temptation Tough                         Mark 1:9-15

February 25                   Losing Life to Gain It                                          Mark 8:31-38

March 3                           The Tables Have (Over)turned                      John 2:13-22

March 10                        Preferring to Stay in the Dark                        John 3:14-21

March 17                       What Goes Down Will Come Up               John 12:20-33

March 24                       From Hosanna to Crucify Him                      Mark 11:1-11

March 31                       Easter Sunday: From Death to Life!              Mark 16:1-8

 

Life’s Highs and Lows: Navigating the Landscapes of the Soul

April 7 to May 12

From one day to the next, even one moment to the next, it can feel like going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. It is no surprise that the Bible is filled with numerous landscape images that depict the varieties of human experience. This series explores the various biblical settings that describe aspects of being human, and encourages us to trust in God and seek the companionship of others along the way.

April 7               Mountains: Moments of Celebration                              Psalm 121

April 14             Valleys: Seasons of Loss and Grief                                       Psalm 23

April 21             Deserts: Times of Loneliness and Anxiety          Psalm 107:1-9

April 28             Skies: Times of Hope and Promise                    1 Kings 18:42-46

May 5                 Rivers: Places of Refreshment and Renewal                   Psalm 1

May 12              Roads: Strength for the Journey Ahead         Psalm 119:27-40

May 19               The Power of the Spirit (Pentecost Sunday)           Acts 2:1-15

 

Hard to Believe: Essential But Challenging Aspects of the Faith

May 26 to June 23

The Christian faith is filled with many wondrous propositions, each of which stretch our thinking and remind us that God is beyond our ability to fully comprehend them. At the same time, these ideas can be so challenging that they prompt moments of skepticism, and even disbelief. Each of these Sundays explores a different, central aspect of the Christian faith and unpacks it using the resources of Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason, enabling us to embrace these essential tenets with a refreshed ability to believe.

May 26              The Trinity: How Can Three Equal One?

June 2                Human and Divine: How Could Jesus Be Both?

June 9                Qualities of God: All Present, Knowing, and Powerful?

June 16              Suffering and Evil: The Impossible Chess Match

June 23             Prayer: What Good Does it Do?

 

Voices of Inspiration: Great Lives that Light Our Way

June 30 to August 4

The history of the church is filled with luminaries of the faith, who reveal aspects of holy living that strengthen and encourage us. Each Sunday we will not just remember the story of their lives; we will lean into their example, and explore how we can carry on their legacy through the way we live.

June 30             Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 7                 Mother Theresa

July 14               Howard Thurman

July 21               Mahalia Jackson

July 28               Mary McLeod Bethune

August 4            Oscar Romero

 

Branching Out: Our Place in the Faith Family Tree

August 11 to 25

As United Methodists, we recognize that we are part of a grander connection throughout the world, with people of faith beyond United Methodism and Christianity. This series explores “where we fit” in the family tree of Christian denominations, how we relate to people of other religions, and even our posture of humble witness and profession with people who are irreligious or formerly religious.

August 11        The Catholic Spirit: Our Relationship with Other             Denominations

August 18        Outside Christianity: Our Relationship with Other Faith Traditions

August 25         Out on a Limb: Our Relationship with Non-Believers

 

Foundations for the Future: Celebrating Our 125th Anniversary

September 1 to 15

In 1899, a group of 30 people from First Methodist in Tampa crossed the Hillsborough River to begin meeting in a two-room schoolhouse at the corner of Platt and Magnolia. 125 years later, we are living into a legacy that has proclaimed the good news of Jesus and built the kingdom of God for generations. This three-part worship series celebrates the grace of God and the history of our church, and points us toward an exciting future for generations to come.

September 1                 The Church’s One Foundation

September 8                 Making God’s Leave Real: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

September 15               I Love to Tell the Story: Our 125th Anniversary Celebration

 

Built to Last: Becoming the Church God Intends

September 22 to October 27

A natural and important follow-up to our 125th Anniversary Celebration is a season of recommitment to grow deeper as disciples, widen our reach to others, and be united in mission to love God and love all. This five-part series reviews the five-fold membership vow that declares our support to God’s mission in our church.

September 22               Prayers

September 29               Presence

October 6                       Gifts

October 13                     Service (Missions Celebration Sunday)

October 20                    Witness/Invitation

October 27                     Commitment Sunday

 

Not the End of the World: Hope in Jesus During Difficult Times

November 3-24

These scriptures invite us all to ask where God is when things go wrong. In a world caught up in a negative news cycle, the texts that speak to hopelessness, fear, and even the close of history can teach us much about remaining faithful in difficult times. This series will help us remain hopeful, even when the headlines seem out of control.

November 3                  The Work of Waiting                      Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4

November 10                 Skipping to the End                           2 Thess. 2:1-5, 13-17

November 17                 Full Disclosure                                                      Luke 21:5-19

November 24                Proving Who You Are                                     Luke 23:33-43

 

The Christmas Letters: An Advent Invitation from the Epistles

December 3 to 24

This Advent we will explore aspects of the incarnation of Jesus through scriptures from Romans, Colossians, Philippians, and 1 John, along with the birth narratives in the gospels. The series will be based on my upcoming book of the same title, to be published by Abingdon Press.

December 1            Good News: Hope for Salvation                        Romans 1:1-6

December 8            Love Incarnate: The Word of Life Reveale          1 John 3-4

December 15         Fully Human: Joy in Humility                     Philippians 2:1-11

December 22          Fully Divine: Peace through Christ        Colossians 2:6-15

December 24           God’s Downward Mobility                                      Luke 2:1-20

 

Next year promises to be filled with excitement, joy, and wisdom. I am eager to take this journey with you in 2024!

Grace and Peace,

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

A Thanksgiving Blessing

Dear Hyde Park Family:

Rejoice always. Pray continually.
Give thanks in every situation
because this is God’s will
for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As we enter these days of giving thanks with loved ones and friends, consider these words from John Wesley, in his commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer:
it is almost essentially connected with it.
He that always prays is ever giving praise,
whether in ease or pain,
both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity.

He blesses God for all things,
looks on them as coming from him,
and receives them only for his sake;
not choosing nor refusing,
liking nor disliking, anything,
but only as it is agreeable or disagreeable
to his perfect will.

On behalf of the clergy, staff, and lay leadership of Hyde Park United Methodist Church, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

Grace and Peace,

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

An Enneagram Thanksgiving

November 16, 2023

Dear Hyde Park Family,

Over the past three Wednesday nights, I have had the fun of teaching a class on the Enneagram, a personality type indicator that guides self-discovery, offers awareness of one’s strengths and shadows, and enhances relationships with others. Every time I offer the class, I learn more about each of the nine types, including greater understanding of my own. (Type 6, in case you are familiar with it.)

With Thanksgiving next week, I have been pondering what each of the nine styles would be most grateful for in their lives, in their relationships, and in their faith. So, I wrote the following as a kind of litany that you might find meaningful, whether or not you know your own Enneagram type.

An Enneagram Thanksgiving

Type 1, The Perfectionist: I am grateful for God’s goodness and righteousness, which enables us to live moral and ethical lives. And I am grateful for God’s forgiveness, which redeems me when I go astray.

Type 2, The Helper: I am grateful for God’s love, which enables me to be generous and self-sacrificial in addressing the needs of others. And I am grateful for how that love is unconditional, which shows me how to love myself.

Type 3, The Performer: I am grateful for God’s excellence, which urges me to offer God my very best, in every aspect of my life. And I am grateful for how God’s is teaching me not to avoid failure, but to embrace it as a teacher and guide.

Type 4, The Artist: I am grateful for God’s beauty all around me, which allows me to transform the hurt and suffering within and around me into something that is exceptional, beautiful, and inspirational to others. And I am grateful for how God is showing me humility, through the example of Jesus.

Type 5, The Thinker: I am grateful for God’s wisdom, which enables me to experience the thrill of discovery through intellect and reason. And I am grateful for how God is helping me to embrace mystery and the unknown, so that I can be more connected to God and others.

Type 6, The Loyalist: I am grateful for God’s commandments, which creates order out of chaos, and aligns me and others to live together as God intends. And I am grateful for how God is helping me to embrace my fears, trust my gut, and take a risk whenever necessary.

Type 7, The Adventurer: I am grateful for God’s joy, which addresses the pain and suffering in my life and others, and helps me to savor all the delights and adventures that are around me. And I am grateful for how God is helping me to acknowledge pain, rather than escape or avoid it.

Type 8, The Leader: I am grateful for God’s power, which is made perfect in my weakness, helps me overcome my limitations, and enables me to empower others. And I am grateful for the gift of repentance and humility, which helps me to live in God’s strength, rather than in denial.

Type 9, The Peacemaker: I am grateful for God’s peace, which seeks the wholeness and health of all creation and within my own self. I am thankful for the harmony of the natural world, and for moments when I feel calm and settled. And I am grateful for times of conflict, which push me and others into new understandings and possibilities for growth.

Most of all, I am grateful for Jesus Christ, who is the perfect reflection of all nine dimensions of humanity, and is the full expression of God’s divinity. In him, and through him, we have all that we need.

And for that, let us be thankful.

Grace and Peace,

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