Holy Week & Easter – Virtual Worship Opportunities

Here are some things that are coming up for Holy Week!

Go out into your yard or home and find an available “branch” – could be a flower or a small branch, or spring of Rosemary… something symbolic to wave as a “palm” for the service.
Then go to the page for VIRTUAL WORSHIP FOR PALM SUNDAY, April 5 – This link will be up before 11 AM on Sunday Morning!

April 9, 6:30 PM Maundy Thursday Communion

Our Maundy Thursday (No Soup) Communion Worship will not take place at the church building this year, but we’ll still have something like it! 

Eat some soup or other simple meal in your home.  Then, you and your loved ones are invited to join worship, using ZOOM technology at 6:30 PM.  Follow the link to our zoom location and we’ll worship face-to-face.  There’s a catch, though, you bring your own communion elements! – some kind of bread and some juice (grape is nice, but any you have will do).  Your elements will be blessed and we will partake of the blessed meal of Christ together. 

Join at https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/5509088690 – Remember that this is LIVE and you’ll see each other! Dress appropriately!

 7:00 AM  Sunrise Service

Join Pastor Karla in her front yard among the early spring flowers – virtually again, that is!  Join on zoom at 7 AM – you can go outside in your own yard, if you like (with your phone or laptop), or stay inside.  It will be a brief service, but our traditional way of bringing in Easter Day, as if we were near the tomb discovering that it is empty!

https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/5509088690 to join the Sunrise gathering on your computer or smartphone.

Easter Morning Worship with the Bishop

All the UM churches of the Northwest are being invited for a special worship on Easter!  The Bishop will be preaching.  There will be Easter photos and images from around the Northwest, Music from several NW churches. Information about how to join this Worship service will be posted right HERE, and on the WELCOME PAGE by Wednesday of Holy Week.

Virtual Worship for 3/29/2020

Welcome

Call to Worship

Wait and watch for God!

Even when you feel in the depths of death and despair,

When you are overwhelmed with what the world is experiencing.

Wait and watch for God!

Even when life seems like a night that never ends,

When you are alone and lonely,

    and when you’re going stir-crazy from being at home!

Wait and watch for God!

In God there is constant love and kindness.

In God we find our healing and our hope.

Prayer                 

O God, open our hearts to be aware of your presence.

Help us to see you in all that is around us.

Breathe new life into us.

Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn                         

It is Well With My Soul        Hymnal #377  Words: Horatio G. Spafford, 1873;  Music: Phillip P. Bliss, 1876;  with lyrics, sung by Chris Rice

Scripture:      

Ezekiel 37:1-14

John 11:1-3, 6, 17, 33-44       Read by Dr. Mark Fredericksen

Sermon         

“Hear the Word of the Lord!”          Rev. Karla Fredericksen

 Hymn                       

Awesome God   The Faith We Sing #2040 Words & Music: Rich Mullins, ©1988 BMG Songs, Inc. with lyrics sung by Michael W. Smith

Pastoral Prayer

Offertory            

 You Raise Me Up Music by Rolf Løvland, lyrics by Brendan Graham; arranged by McKay Crocket; Sung by BYU Vocal Point (Josh Groban a capella cover)

Making a contribution to the “Offering” virtually is now easier using the donation page and using PayPal or a credit card – as always you can also send in a check.

Thank you for your contributions! DONATION PAGE

Offering Response        

Holy, Holy, Holy   The Faith We Sing #2007

Prayer of Dedication for the offering

As you hold your prepared offering in your hand, hold it out for God to bless, as you pray the Following: Amazing God, your great love for us was expressed in the gift of Jesus the Christ.   Our love for You and for each other is expressed in these tangible gifts we give in response to Your love for us.

Please accept these gifts and our lives, the work of care that they represent and our hope for a fuller life for others that all may know the reality of your great love for us.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Loving God, forgive us the times when we have not been there for others.

For times when we have not gone to help those in need. For now in these fearful times, we long to go, and are not allowed to go, to hold a hand, to touch, to cry together.

When we have failed to be your comforting presence at the bedside of the sick, at the door of the prison, behind the counter of the soup kitchen, with casserole in hand at the passing of a friend’s loved one, in offering the hand of friendship to the new neighbor in giving the word of hope.

In these fearful times, let us resolve to change, to be there for each other. You show us the way, and you give us hope that there is redemption from our failures.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in the steadfast love of God, whose

willingness to hear is greater than our despair;

whose power to forgive is greater than our sin;

we trust in this God to save us.

We believe in Jesus Christ, who wept in anger and grief;

who faced life with hope and death with courage;

at Christ’s command the bonds of death are untied/unloosed/broken;

In Christ we find life and resurrection.

We believe in the Spirit of God,

who breathes new life into dead bones;

who dwells in us and brings us hope;

who forms us into the people of God,

always alive to new possibilities;

this is the Spirit who dwells in us.

Suggested Songs

You Are Mine          The Faith We Sing #2218

Change My Heart, O God         The Faith We Sing #2152

The Prayer of Jesus

Creator of us all, Our Mother and Father in heaven,

May your name be praised,

May your reign come in all its fullness,

And may your will be done on earth, as in all realms beyond.

Give us today all that we need,

And forgive our sins, as we forgive all who sin against us.

May we feel your presence in time of temptation,

leading us in the right way, and away from evil.

For all things are from you and belong to you,

and yours is the power and honor forever.  Amen.

Announcements:

  • If you hear any of our seniors that need meals they should sign up at 1-855-581-9495 (toll free). They would get 5 frozen meals delivered. No charge, donations accepted but not expected. It’s United Way, Twin City Transit and the local senior center partnering.
  • Pastor Chat and Prayers –  Come join Pastor Karla in a Zoom “gathering” for chatting from our homes, sharing our concerns and joys, and praying together for about half and hour, or as long as it takes.  If you’ve missed the “Prayers of the People” sharing on Sundays, this can replace it.  You can join in this time together by smartphone or computer, by downloading the free app from zoom.com. and then at the time of the meeting – TUESDAY, 10 AM – follow the link at https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/864450315 – and join the meeting, or join by phone One tap mobile 1+16699006833,,864450315# US or  land line 1-(669)900-6833; Meeting ID: 864 450 315

April 9 – Maundy Thursday – VIRTUAL WORSHIP (Soup Supper is cancelled) Virtual Communion will be at 6:30 PM  FOR THIS NIGHT, WE WILL NOT GATHER FOR SOUP & COMMUNION, you ARE invited to make your own soup or simple supper at home, then at 6:30 join in a “zoom” worship (a link will be published).  You’ll need to bring a piece of bread of some sort, and grape juice or another appropriate beverage (other juices work, too).  We will bless it together and remember the meal that Jesus had with his disciples.   REMEMBER, we may be separated, but we are NOT alone!

  • Decision made on General Conference (international gathering, every 4 years) – The Commission on the General Conference has made the determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned. They have decided to work toward setting a new date in 2021.  More information:  Read article at PNW NEWS DIGEST

Closing Prayer

Loving God, we thank you for hearing our prayers,
for feeding us with your word and spirit,
and encouraging us in this time together.
Take us and use us to love and serve you, and all people,
in the power of your Spirit, and in the name of Christ. Amen.

Song of Response   

May You Run and Not Be Weary  Faith We Sing #2281

     (Below is some good accompaniment for you to sing to.)

May you run and not be weary, May your heart be filled with song. And may the love of God continue to give you hope and keep you strong And may you run and not be weary, may your life be filled with joy! And may the road you travel always bring you home.

Words and Music by Paul Murakami & Handt Hanson (Isa. 40:31) (c)1991 Changing Church Forum    CCLI#1397620 

GO IN PEACE

Tuesday Pastor’s Chat

DURING THIS PANDEMIC and our SHELTERING AT HOME!!

Pastor Chat and Prayers –  Come join Pastor Karla in a Zoom “gathering” for chatting from our homes, sharing what’s happening in our lives, our concerns and joys, and praying together for about half and hour, or as long as it takes.  This is face-to-face without being physically close. If you’ve missed the “Prayers of the People” sharing on Sundays, this can replace it. 

Be sure to dress from the waist up, because you can see each other! Wear PJ pants if you want, and miss-matched socks. (Pastor Karla does!)

Be sure that your microphone and computer/phone camera settings are ON.

You can join in this time together by smartphone or computer by clicking on the following link just before the time of the meeting – TUESDAYS, 10 AM – follow the link at https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/864450315 – and join the meeting.

OR join by phone One tap mobile 1+16699006833,,864450315# US or  land line 1-(669)900-6833; Meeting ID: 864 450 315

Save these links, as they are the same each week.

CURRENT NEWS SHORTS

“Virtual Worship” is being substituted for sanctuary in-person worship, during the COVID-19 pandemic, see the welcome page for links to this “in-home” adventure! 

NEW!  TUESDAY PASTOR CHAT!!

Want to see and talk to other church friends (and the Pastor) in person?  Even though we are physically distanced we can be socially and spiritually close.  Follow the link on Tuesday mornings at 10 AM for Pastor Chat.  We share what’s happening in our lives, joys, concerns, and we pray together.    SEE MORE WITH LINKS TO THE ZOOM CALL

Regular Sunday Schedule

When we are back to in-person gathering!

  • The Regular Sunday Schedule:

         9:30 AM – Faithlink Class (Adults) – child care for up to 8 yr.

11:00 AM – WORSHIP  and KID ZONE (ages 5-12) 

  • Child care is provided during worship for up to 5 years old – in addition to Kid Zone
  • Following worship every Sunday:   Everyone is welcome to stay for snacks and beverages in Boadway Hall.  This is get-acquainted time.  Occasionally there is a special coffee hour with a meal to celebrate an event, and all who attend worship are invited to be a part of it, too!

****************

We will welcome Seattle-to-Portland Bikers as Lodgers at the church building again this year, on July 18. FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK on the PICTURE.

Small Group/Fellowship Opportunities:

ALL IN-PERSON ACTIVITIES OF MORE THAN 10 PERSONS ARE SUSPENDED DURING THE PANDEMIC!  (LOOK BACK TO THIS SITE FOR WHEN WE CHANGE BACK!)

Follow this link to a comprehensive list of our many SMALL GROUP fellowship and service activities.

In addition, Sunday mornings, following Worship there is always some kind of foods, beverages and fellowship. Fall through Spring, the Third Sunday there is often a fellowship LUNCH or Potluck.

 

 

THE CHURCH IN MISSION:

 

WE LEARN TOGETHER:

The Faithlink class on Sunday mornings is September through May.       9:30 AM on Sundays.  The subject matter is selected from current events and topics of interest.  There is always information on the topic, scriptures to draw from, and a United Methodist specific perspective, with lots of discussion from the group.  All are welcome!

The Kid Zone which begins at the children’s sermon on Sunday mornings is also September through June.  It starts as children leave worship about 11:10 AM (Sunday), after the children’s sermon.  Children leave to the activity zone, and adults continue the worship service with sermon, etc.

MORE UM News

PNW-News-Blog-272w

 – Note our section on the sidebar  that has links to many of the publications from our district, conference and general conference – keep up on all the United Methodist News.

“Virtual Worship” for 3/22/2020

Welcome

   Welcome to the virtual worship of Chehalis United Methodist for March 22, 2020 – I pray that each of you is here to connect to God’s spirit and to a church community, despite social distancing during this pandemic. Further down there is a sermon and prayers. Please follow the whole worship experience by using the suggested parts on the way.

May God bless our time of worship.

Call to Worship/ Opening Prayer

   I invite you to begin worship with this call and prayer – starting with your hands over your eyes, listening for God’s voice. Then when you remove your hands… Read the following:

 God invites us to see the world through new eyes.

   Holy One, open our eyes, and help us to see in new ways..

   God invites us to take away the things that keep us from seeing the beauty of God’s world. 

I invite you now, to look all around you… If you are near a window, look outside, too…

   Holy One, open our eyes, and help us to see in new ways..

Now, if you are with someone else right now, look at them;  If you are alone, close your eyes for a moment, and imagine those you love with you and holding your hand.

With new eyes of your heart, “see” the love and warmth that these persons share…

   Holy One, open our eyes, and help us to see in new ways…

And now, let us worship the Holy One who calls us to see in new ways!

Hymn         

Be Thou My Vision     UM Hymnal #451 – verse 1

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

naught be all else to me, save that thou art.

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Scripture:       John 9:1-41 

Please read the scripture before continuing on to the sermon on the video.

Sermon & Prayers of the People

     “I once was blind”      Rev. Karla Fredericksen

Offering

`Suggested Offering Response

 Holy, Holy, Holy     The Faith We Sing #2007 Argentine Folk

            Holy, Holy, Holy.  My heart, my heart adores you.

            My heart knows how to say to you, “You are Holy, Lord.”

Prayer of Dedication for the offering

Amazing God, your great love for us was expressed in the gift of Jesus the Christ.   Our love for You and for each other is expressed in these tangible gifts we give in response to Your love for us. Please accept

  • these gifts and our lives,
  • the work of care that they represent
  • and our hope for a fuller life for others that all may know the reality of your great love for us.  Amen.

Suggested Hymn(s)    

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light – #206

                                       Amazing Grace  – Hymnal #378

       OR    (video below) Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

   Announcements

         A NOTE FROM THE BUSCHLEN EXTENDED FAMILY:

We wish to thank the Chehalis United Methodist Church family for your incredible support during this last difficult year.
Your ongoing messages of prayer, caring, and concern lifted us up and gave us hope. The cards, calls, texts, gifts, and personal visits have been a continuous evidence of God’s grace manifest through His people in the midst of sickness and sorrow.
Please accept our appreciation for the gracious things you have done.
             – Busch, Jan, Julie, Craig, Joel, Myra

VIRTUAL WORSHIP WILL CONTINUE:

Thank you for your patience during this trying and fearsome time. Our virtual worship will have to continue to replace our in-person worship for the near future – until further notice!  We will activate the prayer chain to let you know when there is a change.  If you are not on the prayer chain, please send your preferred email address to sandycowart77@gmail.com and ask her to add you to the list.

    The prayer chain, this website, and Facebook, are venues we are using to get the word out!  There is also word of mouth – please, let your friends know in case they miss the email, are not on the list or have no email. 

UM GENERAL CONFERENCE IS POSTPONED:

The international meeting of the church which happens every 4 years, is postponed due to the pandemic COVID-19 virus which is sweeping the globe! The venue where the 1000+ person conference was to be held cancelled all events! When there is news of a new date, we will publish it.

Closing Prayer:

Loving God, we thank you for hearing our prayers,
for feeding us with your word and spirit,
and encouraging us in our worship, even when we must be apart.

We ask for safety for ourselves and our loved ones, and that you
take us and use us to love and serve you, and all people,
in the power of your Spirit, and in the name of Christ. Amen.

Closing Response                   

  May You Run and Not Be Weary        Faith We Sing #2281

                 Words & Music:  Paul Murakami and Handt Hanson; 
                 ©1991 Changing Church Forum;  CLLI #1397620               

May you run and not be weary.

May your heart be filled with song.

And may the love of God continue

  to give you hope and keep you strong.

And may run and not be weary.

May your life be filled with joy!

And may the road you travel always lead you home.

No worship? Yes Worship -Virtually

 DURING THE PANDEMIC VIRUS, WE DO NOT HAVE AN IN-PERSON WORSHIP!  However, we are putting up a Worship Video with a meditation or sermon, and some other elements of worship, plus a few written items – suggested songs, prayers, etc.  This is for your use with “in-home” worship.  There will be a link here and on the welcoming page, by 11:00 AM on Sunday for you to access these resources.

A new worship page will be uploaded to this site each Sunday, but you may access it any day of the week.

As always, you can look ahead at scriptures we will be using – Check this out on the “What’s Coming Up in Worship?” page.

Please stay safe and healthy!  Here we are in the midst of Lent, after the First Sunday of Lent in which scripture told us that Jesus was tempted to throw himself down off the pinnacle of the temple.  Some want to say in these times that “God and his angels will take care of you.”  However, Jesus said, “Don’t tempt the Lord your God.”  Tempting God is throwing ourselves into dangerous situations, expecting God to save us from ourselves.  Instead, God expects us take every precaution to remain in safety.  Wash your hands often, practice social distance, avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands, and wash your hands after touching your face.  Don’t “tempt the Lord.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING the next few weeks in WORSHIP?

 DURING THE PANDEMIC VIRUS, WE DO NOT HAVE AN IN-PERSON WORSHIP!  However, we are putting up a Worship Video with a meditation or sermon and some other elements of worship, plus a few written items – suggested songs, prayers, etc.  This is for your use with “in-home” worship.  There will be a link here and on the welcoming page, by 11:00 AM on Sunday for you to access these resources.

                Some previous weeks’ worship will also be left for you to find.

As always, you can look ahead at scriptures we will be using – scroll down a bit more to see the Sunday menus below.

Please stay safe and healthy!  Here we are in the midst of Lent, after the First Sunday of Lent in which scripture told us that Jesus was tempted to throw himself down off the pinnacle of the temple.  Some want to say in these times that “God and his angels will take care of you.”  However, Jesus said, “Don’t tempt the Lord your God.”  Tempting God is throwing ourselves into dangerous situations, expecting God to save us from ourselves.  Instead, God expects us take every precaution to remain in safety.  Wash your hands often, practice social distance, avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands, and wash your hands after touching your face.  Don’t “tempt the Lord.”

To get an idea of what you might expect in a “usual” worship service at Chehalis UMC, check out this page:  “Worship: what to expect...”

And HERE is our usual schedule, for your FUTURE USE: When we open the doors of the building again.

      • 11:00AM Sunday – Worship time
      • Faithlink Class is a contemporary topics discussion group, relating current events to Bible and church tradition, etc.  Faithlink class is Sunday 9:30 am
      • Childcare is still provided during worship (through age 5) and during adult class times (through age 8).
      • Kid Zone, age 5 -12,  follows the children’s sermon in worship, Fall through Spring.  
      • If you read the scriptures noted below each Sunday, during the week before, you probably have read ahead of time the scripture being used in worship, and can be better prepared. 

REGULAR SUNDAY SCHEDULE:

9:30 AM FAITHLINK CLASS

11:00 AM WORSHIP TIME!

KID ZONE, following children’s sermon

Fellowship time with Beverages – following worship

April 5 – Palm/Passion Sun-VIRTUAL WORSHIP
      • Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
      • Matthew 21:1-11

      • Philippians 2:5-11

    •  

April 9 – Maundy Thursday – VIRTUAL WORSHIP (NO Soup)  Virtual Communion will be at 6:30 PM 

FOR THIS NIGHT, WE WILL NOT GATHER FOR SOUP, But for COMMUNION.  You ARE invited to make your own soup or simple supper at home, then at 6:30 join in a “zoom” worship – See more at  HOLY WEEK & EASTER POST.  You’ll need to bring a piece of bread of some sort, and grape juice or another appropriate beverage (other juices work, too).  We will bless it together and remember the meal that Jesus had with his disciples.  

REMEMBER, we may be separated, but we are NOT alone!

      • Exodus 12:1-14
      • Psalm 116:1-2,12-19
      • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
      • John 13:1-17, 31b-35    

April 12 – EASTER SUNDAY  – VIRTUAL WORSHIP                                                              7 AM Sunrise Service,  PLUS!  An online worship with Bishop Elaine Stanovsky!

Go to the HOLY WEEK AND EASTER POST to see more about this and how to view!

      • Jeremiah 31:1-6
      • Acts 10:34-43
      • Colossians 3:1-4
      • Psalm 118:1-2,14-24
      • John 20:1-18
      • Matthew 28:1-10

April 19 – 2nd Sunday of Easter – VIRTUAL WORSHIP

      • Acts 2:14a, 22-32
      • Psalm 16
      • 1 Peter 1:3-9
      • John 20:19-31

April 26 – 3rd Sun of Easter – VIRTUAL WORSHIP

      • Acts 2:14a, 36-41
      • Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
      • 1Peter 1:17-23
      • Luke 24:13-35

May 3 – Good Shepherd Sunday, 4th Sunday of Easter

      • Acts 2:42-47
      • Psalm 23
      • 1 Peter 2:19-25
      • John 10:1-10

May 10 – Mothers’ Day – 5th Sunday of Easter

      • Acts 7:55-60
      • 1 Peter 2:2-10
      • Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
      • John14:1-14

May 17 – 6th Sun of Easter

      • Acts 17:22-31
      • Psalm 66:8-20
      • 1Peter 3:13-22
      • John 14:15-21

May 24 – 7th Sun of Easter – Ascension

      • Acts 1:6-14
      • Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
      • 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
      • John 17:1-11
      • Luke 24:44-53

May 31- Pentecost Sunday

      • Numbers 11:24-30  or Acts 2:1-21
      • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
      • 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
      • John 7:37-39
  •  

“Virtual Worship” 3/15/2020

Welcome to the virtual worship page for this Sunday. Below are YOUTUBE links to the recorded parts of worship.

Our apologies for the amateur photography – this is our first time doing virtual worship! And apparently we were a bit nervous, at least the shaky camera makes one think so. We hope you enjoy, and in the contents, and in the space surrounding you, you will feel the presence of God in your life!

An Introduction to Worship

Welcome Call to Worship – Prayer

Suggested Hymn    Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing       Hymnal #400

Gospel Lesson John 4:5-30, 39-42 Read by Mark Fredericksen

Meditation: A Dialogue – Nicodemus & The Woman at the Well Read by Mark (Nicodemus) and Karla (Woman) Fredericksen

Suggested Hymn Fill My Cup, Lord Hymnal #641

Pastoral Prayer and Closing Words

Suggested Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Offering time – For the offering, we hope that you will not forget your pledge or offering to the church during this strange time of no gathering. Your mailed in, or virtual transfers are appreciated. (We are working on getting a virtual link for making donations.)

Suggested Response to your check-writing/Offering

While holding your check to the sky: Holy, Holy, Holy TFWS #2007

Suggested Hymn As the Deer  TFWS #2025

Announcements – for announcements we suggest that since there isn’t any small group activity at the church this week, that you explore the rest of this website, to see the usual happenings you may have missed and can plan to attend (when they are gathering again).

Here are a few other “announcements“:

The cancelled in-person Property and Finance meeting – Board members be looking for minutes and emails from the chair, Stan Long. You’ll be doing some of the work through email. (When you reply to him, be sure to remember to “reply all” so that all the members can be in on the conversation.

This may also be the case for the Missions and Outreach Committee (?)

Suggested Song: May You Run and Not Be Weary   TFWS #2281

STP – Seattle to Portland Bikers!

The church is excited about providing lodging for STP riders again in the summer of 2020.  They will be housed in the basement of the main church building and fed in Boadway Hall, with snacks near the sleeping area.

If you would like to be a volunteer for greeting, food preparation, overnight host/ess, etc., please contact Jean Long.

If you are an STP Rider looking for accommodations, we will welcome you, and BELOW are the links to information you may be looking to download.

QUESTIONS?  NEED MORE HELP?  If you are someone who has already signed up with us and need to change something on your registration, or for MORE INFORMATION, you may call Jean Long at 360-388-1851 or email her at stanjeanlong@msn.com.

In the Shadow

Published in the June 2019 Friendly Caller:  Here is a repeat of an article I wrote almost 4 years ago for the friendly caller.  I think the images are pertinent in all times:

God  watches over you – God is your shade at your right hand.     

– Psalm 121:5

There are times in our lives when God seems vividly “with” us.  We feel a spiritual presence, connection and guidance, and there is no mistake that God exists and cares for us.  And then there are the other times when we wonder IF God is there at all.

God is very much like the shade created by a sunlit day.  At times during the day we feel very connected to God’s presence. It is very vivid and there is no mistaking it, like the long shadow cast in the early morning or late afternoon sun.  At those times we are very much aware and can recognize the work of God in our lives, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

It is in the middle of our everyday lives, with life’s living and trials, that we can start feeling abandoned – for God’s “shade” in our lives is so short as to hardly be noticeable, like at noon-time.  At these times, God’s work in our lives does not seem quite so certain, so evident, so obvious, and we may even have to search for it!  We may even come to clearly doubt that God even exists, just like on the days that our shadow does not seem to be present at all on the darkest of days.

And yet, at ALL times God IS with us.  God is inexorably “attached” to us like the shadow that follows us everywhere, even when we cannot recognize or detect its presence on the dark days.  Whenever there is light, when we move, our shadow moves.  When we stop, our “shade at our right hand” stops.  We can depend on the fact that God is there, as surely as shadow is there whenever light of any sort is present.  When the sun has gone down, even then, we are enveloped in the shadow created by the earth itself shading the sun from us.

One of the affirmations at the back of our United Methodist Hymnal (#883) ends with the phrase:

“In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone, thanks be to God!”

This is the hope with which we live on a day to day basis.  The hope that God does not abandon us.  That God did not just set the planets to spinning, but is involved with us all on a day to day basis.  That our actions matter, and not only does God influence our lives, but our lives influence God.  Like the shadow that is moving with us, and is inextricably connected to our own movements, we are moving for and with God.  The hope with which we live is that God walks with us, and that it really does matter to God what constitutes our daily living.  We are not alone!  Thanks be to God!

“Under the shadow of thy wing, oh may we dwell secure Sufficient is thine arm alone, and thy defense is sure.” (Isaac Watts, 1719)

In the love of God – Pastor Karla