The Midweek Message

from Senior Pastor Magrey deVega

 

 

 

The Blessing of the Animals

The Blessing of the Animals

Dear Hyde Park Family, My first pet was a turtle. I was young when I received one as a gift from a friend. It was a small box turtle that I kept it in a green plastic bowl shaped around a fake island and topped with a plastic palm tree. I thought about naming it after...

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Our Cosmic Voyage

Our Cosmic Voyage

Dear Hyde Park Family, This Sunday I’ll be preaching on the fourth day of creation, when God created the planets, stars, sun, and moon. Prior to Sunday, I would love for you to take 30-minutes to watch a short documentary film titled Cosmic Voyage. I originally saw it...

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What is Your Thin Place?

What is Your Thin Place?

Dear Hyde Park Family, In Celtic spirituality there is a term called “thin places,” where a person experiences the God’s presence more readily than in any other place. Travel writer Eric Weiner describes them as “those rare locales where the distance between heaven...

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A PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS

A PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS

Dear Christmas Pilgrims, A PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS By Frederick Buechner (1926-2022) From The Hungering Dark   Lord Jesus Christ,   Thou Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, be born again into our world.   Wherever there is war in this world, Wherever...

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Come, Thou Almighty King

Come, Thou Almighty King

Dear Advent Pilgrims,  We are about to round the corner and come down the home stretch of our journey through Advent. Be sure to check out our website for descriptions of all the exciting events happening next week, starting with this Sunday: Family Christmas Service:...

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LOOK EAST! (THIS WEEKEND)

LOOK EAST! (THIS WEEKEND)

Dear Advent Pilgrims, As we approach the half-way mark of our journey to Christmas, we have some special events this Saturday and Sunday that will comprise a joyous, festive weekend. We hope you will make one or more of these events a part of your holiday...

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A Child of the Light

A Child of the Light

Dear Advent Pilgrims, Our journey to Bethlehem is guided by the songs of Advent, hymns written to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus Christ. It is a series based on one of my earliest books, titled Songs for the Waiting: Devotions Inspired by the Hymns of...

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A Gift for a King

A Gift for a King

What do you give to a king who has everything? A few years ago, during a trip to London, my daughters and I visited the Tower of London and made the compulsory tourist stop to see the Crown Jewels. This impressive collection features royal crowns, mantles, scepters,...

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The Fragrance of Gratitude

The Fragrance of Gratitude

Dear Hyde Park Family, Are there certain fragrances that evoke strong memories for you?  I was surprised to learn recently that the same part of our brain that processes our sense of smell is the same as where we store our memories. Your olfactory bulb is connected to...

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Living with Gratitude

Living with Gratitude

Dear Hyde Park Family, This Sunday we begin a new worship series titled “Living with Gratitude.” It is a continuation of the leadership theme with which we started the year, based on Diana Butler Bass’ book Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks. Each...

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Therefore… “Go?”

Therefore… “Go?”

Thirty years ago, I was in a small group Bible study in college, in which the leader was talking about Matthew 28:18-20, our scripture reading for this Sunday’s Missions Celebration. Jesus utters these iconic words to his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of...

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A Gift for Yourself

A Gift for Yourself

Dear Hyde Park Family, It is a condition that affects about one in 1 in 5 adults in the United States each year. One in 6 American youth experience this challenge, and it is the most common cause of hospitalizations of people under the age of 45. It is the leading...

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Hurricane Ian Relief Update

Hurricane Ian Relief Update

Dear Hyde Park Family, Thank you for the amazing response to the urgent plea for water last weekend for residents of Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian. In less than 24 hours, you donated about 4.5 tons of water, the equivalent of over 1,200 gallons. That water has...

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Special Midweek Message: A Pastoral Word Before the Storm

Special Midweek Message: A Pastoral Word Before the Storm

Dear Hyde Park Family, Today’s special Midweek Message is in the form of this video, in which I offer you and your loved ones a pastoral word of comfort and courage in the face of Hurricane Ian. Blessings to you and your family as we navigate these days ahead. Magrey

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Remembering Rich Mullins

Remembering Rich Mullins

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last Monday was the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of Rich Mullins, one of the greatest contemporary Christian music artists, and songwriter of the soundtrack of my youth. His song “Awesome God” debuted during my senior year in high school...

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For Everything a Season

For Everything a Season

Dear Hyde Park Family, At the outset of a meeting last Tuesday of the Committee on Lay Leadership, I read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which contains the iconic “For everything there is a season” passage. Then I read a lovely poem by Laura Grace Weldon titled, “Compost...

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The Art of Hearing God’s Voice

The Art of Hearing God’s Voice

Dear Hyde Park Family, “Can you hear me now?” You may remember that famous line from the advertising campaign for Verizon Wireless. It began on January 14, 2002, when nearly half of all Americans owned a cell phone. The ad assured Verizon subscribers that their cell...

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Why I Love Being United Methodist

Why I Love Being United Methodist

Dear Hyde Park Family, As we conclude our worship series “The Meaning of Methodist” this Sunday, here are ten reasons I love being United Methodist. I pray they resonate with you, too. 1. I love how United Methodists view God. We believe that first and foremost, God...

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Shaping the Future

Shaping the Future

Dear Hyde Park Family, Today I am remembering some very special people in my life. I remember the woman who worked in the church nursery when I was just a small child. I don’t remember her name, but I can still recollect her face and her smile. She welcomed me when my...

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Living into Our Calling

Living into Our Calling

Dear Hyde Park Family, The world lost a major spiritual voice last Monday when we learned of the death of Frederick Buechner. He was a Presbyterian minister, spiritual teacher and prolific author of 39 books. He is one of the most often quoted writers by preachers...

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A Prayer For A New School Year

A Prayer For A New School Year

Dear Hyde Park Family, This week, schools are beginning a new year all across our area. It is a time mixed with anticipation, apprehension and the welcome return of routine. It is also an opportunity for us to pray God’s blessings on our students, teachers, families,...

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It’s Good to Be Back!

It’s Good to Be Back!

Dear Hyde Park Family, I returned to the office this week, having relished the gift of a study and renewal leave. My daughters and I shared some wonderful experiences, the insights from which I am eager to share with you over the weeks and months ahead. For now, I am...

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An Exciting Summer Ahead

An Exciting Summer Ahead

Dear Hyde Park Family, Starting Monday, June 13, I will begin a six-week period of study leave and renewal. It will be a time away from daily ministry at Hyde Park United Methodist, enabling me to return on August 1 with renewed clarity and energy for the long haul of...

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Living The Three

Living The Three

(Note: Read to the end of today’s Midweek Message for a pastoral statement on the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.) Dear Hyde Park Family, People attending our in-person worship services may have noticed that for the past several weeks I have preceded my...

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A Word for Graduates

A Word for Graduates

Dear Hyde Park Family, We are now in graduation season here in the Tampa Bay area, as we celebrate high school seniors embarking on an exciting and unfolding future. We will be honoring our seniors this Sunday in worship, as well as praying for graduating students at...

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There Once was a Journey

There Once was a Journey

  Dear Hyde Park Family, Happy National Limerick Day! I know; today’s observance was likely not on your calendar. It wasn’t on mine, either, until I randomly checked this website yesterday. In case you’re wondering, today is also International Nurses Day,...

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A Mother’s Day Prayer

A Mother’s Day Prayer

Dear Hyde Park Family, In preparation for this Sunday, when we celebrate and honor the mothers and mother figures in our lives, here is a reprise of a prayer for Mother’s Day that I first offered years ago. May it guide us into a deeper appreciation for these special...

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The Original Six-Word Story

The Original Six-Word Story

Dear Easter People, There is a legend that someone once asked Ernest Hemingway to write a story using only six words. His response? “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Since then, the idea of a “Six-Word Story” has grown in popularity. One article defines it as “a...

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One Continual Act

One Continual Act

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, Epiphany By John Donne, 1572-1631   The whole life of Christ was a continual Passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness...

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See You at the Starting Line!

See You at the Starting Line!

Dear Hyde Park Pilgrims, Don’t finish what you can’t start. That’s a twist on the classic cliché, but it is sage advice for our tendency to jump quickly to Easter without moving through the Passion. Our stores are stocked with plastic grass and chocolate bunnies, yet...

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A Safe Place for Questions

A Safe Place for Questions

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last Sunday morning, I spent the 9:30 hour with about thirty of our seventh-grade confirmation students, to walk them through a rehearsal for our Confirmation Service on April 24. I also spent time with the entire youth group, for a special...

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Praying as the Prodigal

Praying as the Prodigal

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, In March 2010, during a family trip to Paris, we visited the Rodin Museum, featuring the work of the great sculptor Auguste Rodin. We saw his most famous sculpture, The Thinker, along with many other amazing works. In contrast to the smooth...

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Grace in Every Moment

Grace in Every Moment

Dear Hyde Park Family,          Last week, I returned from spending a few days in San Diego, where my older daughter Grace is a junior at San Diego State. My younger daughter Madelyn flew over from Washington, D.C., giving the three of us a fun time to reconnect....

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Three More Things You Might Give Up for Lent

Three More Things You Might Give Up for Lent

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, Five years ago, I wrote a Midweek Message titled “Ten Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent,” which was subsequently picked up and published by Ministry Matters, our denomination’s online publication. You may wish to refer back to it as a guide...

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Prayer for Ukraine

Prayer for Ukraine

Dear Hyde Park Family, As we begin this Lenten journey, we join our hearts and spirits in prayer for the devastation occurring in the country of Ukraine and the trauma experienced by its people around the world. We pray for an end to violence, comfort for the mourning...

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If the Transfiguration Happened Today

If the Transfiguration Happened Today

Dear Hyde Park Family, For today’s Midweek Message, I’m resurrecting (pun intended) a message from 2018, in which I playfully contemplate what the transfiguration of Jesus, observed by Christians this Sunday, might look like in today’s social media world.  ...

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A Big Hyde Park Welcome

A Big Hyde Park Welcome

Dear Hyde Park Family, Those who have been around the church for a while know that two of the great blessings in this congregation are its faithful laity and amazing staff. Because so many of you offer your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, we make God’s...

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The Two Questions

The Two Questions

Dear Hyde Park Family, I love sessions with my therapist. They have been an important key to maintaining emotional wellness during this long, difficult season of life and ministry. Those of you with such a relationship with a therapist know these benefits; I’m...

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You’re Invited! (To Gratitude)

You’re Invited! (To Gratitude)

Dear Hyde Park Family, I’ll start with the special invitation: Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 27, when we will have the great privilege of hosting renowned author and speaker Diana Butler Bass for morning worship and an evening lecture (4-6pm). Diana is the...

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3 Tips for Giving Thanks

3 Tips for Giving Thanks

Dear Hyde Park Family,   We are a week away from Thanksgiving, and I pray your days ahead will be filled with moments of joy, reflection, and connecting with loved ones.   As the season suggests, may there also be occasions for you to give deep thanks to God and to...

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Wires Crossed

Wires Crossed

Dear Hyde Park Family, “AHHHH-LEX-AHHHHH … STOP!” I have discovered the joys of teaching my elderly parents how to use the Alexa app on their Amazon Echo. I purchased it for them a few weeks ago to give them a way of playing Filipino music by their favorite artists....

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Doing Thanks

Doing Thanks

Dear Hyde Park Family, With Halloween behind us and the month of November ahead, we enter a season of gratitude that culminates with the observance of Thanksgiving. I hope you will take time to acknowledge the many blessings of God that we might otherwise overlook....

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In Appreciation

In Appreciation

First, here’s a reminder that if you have not already, please subscribe to receive the daily prayer emails that will guide us on our 22-Day Prayer Journey. Each message includes a powerful testimonial of life change from someone in our church or community because of...

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We’re all in This Together

We’re all in This Together

At the start of every year, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan publishes its annual list of “Ten Banished Words for Misuse, Overuse, and Uselessness.” In their estimation, these are the words and phrases that have become insincere, useless,...

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Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

Most of the time, I have to figure out what to write for my Midweek Message. This week’s message practically fell into my lap. Last Tuesday, during our staff chapel, as we were preparing to pray for the joys and concerns submitted by the congregation last Sunday, our...

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Growing Deeper

Growing Deeper

Dear Hyde Park Family, It’s harvest season in the fields and farms across the country, and a time of year I gained an appreciation for during my eight years serving in Iowa. Farmers are in their combines, reaping the benefits of their risk: planting last spring,...

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A Little House in Hyde Park

A Little House in Hyde Park

Dear Hyde Park Family, One of the joys of offering our online service every Sunday is the new sense of connection we have with people around the country. For the last several months, a couple from Virginia named Claudette and David Collins have not only been joining...

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The Beauty of Being a United Methodist

The Beauty of Being a United Methodist

Tomorrow, laity and clergy from across Florida United Methodism will gather virtually for Annual Conference, to engage in the tradition of holy conferencing that is as old as Methodism itself. It will be a time of renewed connection, prayer, and inspiration, as we...

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To Madelyn, on Your Graduation

To Madelyn, on Your Graduation

Dear Hyde Park Family, By the time you read this message, my younger daughter Madelyn will have graduated at noon today from the International Baccalaureate program at Robinson High School. This fall, she will be attending American University in Washington, D.C.,...

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Three Words to Pray

Three Words to Pray

Dear Hyde Park Family, “Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we’re invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.” I recently re-read the book “Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers” by Anne Lamott, whose writing...

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