Dear Hyde Park Family,
First, an important announcement:
We are eager to announce that on Sunday, April 11, we will be resuming indoor worship and onsite children’s activities. For now, we will offer a single service at 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary, with 30 minutes of prayer, Scripture, preaching, and some live music. The musical style will change from week to week and reflects our rich musical diversity. This unique service will serve as an important bridge to transition us to our new worship schedule once the worship venues are ready. And of course, our excellent online worship service will continue, at 9:30 and 11 a.m.
For the first few weeks, we’ll be offering children’s activities safely under our outdoor ministry tent. This will allow our Children’s staff a few more weeks to fully prepare for children’s programming in the classrooms of the Wesley Center. We would love for you to help us out by volunteering in the areas of hospitality and Children’s Ministries, especially if you have been vaccinated and feel comfortable doing so.
Visit our website for the latest updates on ministries, plans for indoor programming, and to learn how to reserve your attendance for worship. We will continue to observe CDC-recommended health protocols we will need to ensure that together we make this a safe space for all of us.
We know it has been a long year for many of us eager to reconnect in person. We are excited to take this important step forward on April 11, as we move into the bright future God has for us.
THE MEANING OF SCARS
Many of us have scars we wish would disappear. I have a burn mark on my right forearm from when I once touched a hot piece of equipment. Madelyn has a scar over her left eye from stitches she needed after falling off her bicycle. Grace has a scar on her cheek from when she was born. And I, like many of you, have scars that are invisible to the eye. They are from wounds in our spirit that reach deep within our past, etched by heartache, grief, doubt, or remorse. They are a lingering reminder of what we’ve been through, and what we’ve become as a result.
Consider the enduring scars of people in the Bible. There’s Jacob’s limp, or Adam’s sweat, or Paul’s thorn. Then there are stories from literary and popular culture: Odysseus’ foot, Luke Skywalker’s hand, Alice’s scrapes from Wonderland, and Harry Potter’s mark on his forehead.
Yes, scars recall old wounds. But they can also offer encouragement. They can remind us that in those moments when we could have played it safe, we chose to take a risk. When we could have chosen the easy way out, we decided to stay and struggle. When times got tough, we didn’t run and hide. Instead of giving up, we persisted through the pain, and survived to tell about it.
Sometimes, life’s most formative experiences are not the triumphs on the mountain top, but those born in the crucible of our deepest anguish. Those are the moments that stretched us until we thought we would break, bruised us until we thought we were bloodless, and pushed us until we thought we would never stand again. But the scars remind us that we did more than survive. We experienced the most powerful and central Christian realities:
In John’s gospel, the resurrected body of Jesus still showed his scars. The nail spots in his hands and feet, the piercing of his side, the thorn marks on his head. Yes, he could walk through closed doors and ascend into the clouds. But when it came to proving the resurrection, he pointed to those scars. “Jesus showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20)
Look back on your life. Yes, you have been through a lot. More than you might feel you deserve. And at the time, it was more than you thought you could handle. But look at yourself, at all those scars and bruises, especially the ones so deep inside you that only you and God can see.
There’s no reason to be ashamed of them.
No reason to hide them.
They are living proof that God has seen you through.
Grace and peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist