St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors.
 

 

         From the Sr. Associate Pastor’s Desk

 

 Incarnation  

 

In 1873 a Belgian Catholic priest named Joseph Damien de Veuster was sent to minister to lepers on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. When he arrived he immediately began to meet each of the lepers in the colony in hopes of building a friendship and a ministry. Wherever he turned, people shunned him. It seemed as though   every door to ministry was closed. He poured his life into his work, erecting a chapel and beginning worship services and pouring out his heart to the lepers But it was to no avail ! No one responded to his ministry. After 12 years of rejection and failure Father Damien decided to leave.  Dejected, he made his way to the docks to board a ship to take him back home to Belgium. As he stood on the dock he wrung his hands nervously as he recounted his futile ministry among lepers. As he did he looked down at his hands....he noticed some mysterious white spots and felt some numbness. Almost immediately he knew what was happening to his body. He had contacted leprosy ! He was now a leper !  It was at that moment he knew what he had to do. He returned to the leper colony and to his work,.  Quickly the word spread about his disease through the colony. Within a matter of hours everyone knew. Hundreds of them gathered outside his hut. They understood his pain, fear, and uncertainty about the future.  But the biggest surprise was the following Sunday as Father Damien arrived at the chapel to conduct the morning service. He found hundreds of worshippers already there. By the time the service began there was standing room only ____the place was packed with people and many more were gathered outside the chapel. !  The rest is history. ! Father Damien had a ministry that became enormously successful. If you have traveled to Hawaii lately, it's not long before you are reminded about his ministry. What was the reason? It's a simple concept of working with human beings... he was now one of them, he understood them, he hurt with them, and was able to emphasize with them. There was now an identity. There was no question if he cared or not.  And this is the essence of why Christ came. There's a big word that describes this action, it's called "incarnation." It's when God became a man, a human being just like all of us.  "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. "(St. John 1:14)  

 

Mary and I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for the joy and privilege of continuing to serve with you ! 

In His Love, 

Terry and Mary 

                           

 

 

 

From the Associate Pastor’s Desk

The Helpers 

I was watching an old interview of Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood a few days ago.  He says in a  portion of the interview, “My mother used to say, whenever there was any catastrophe in the movies or on the air, she would say, ‘Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers…If you look for the helpers, you’ll know there’s hope.’” Rogers’ words stick out to me today as I write this article in the wake of the senseless loss of life from the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh at the end of October as well as the mass shooting in the Borderline bar and grille in California in the beginning of November.  

In the wake of so much brokenness, hatred, and hurt I offer this: 

Let us look for the helpers. 

Let us be the helpers.  

As we come into the Advent and Christmas season, we hold the tension between being in a broken and hurting world and never, ever losing hope. Jesus reminds us, “In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) Hurt and suffering do not stop in this life as Christmas approaches, but what a glorious and profound help we have in Jesus Christ! What a holy time of hope we enter into in remembering and celebrating the birth of God in the form of humankind, who saves us from the worst of the world. Let us look to Jesus as our helper, to other disciples, and let us be the helpers: bright lights in a world that sometimes seems more full of hatred than of love. Take heart this Advent season, celebrate our hope in a Savior that overcomes the world.  

 

I am blessed to celebrate the Advent and Christmas season with all of you at St. Andrew. I pray that in all the  overwhelming news coverage, the hustle and bustle of social events, the stress of finances, and whatever else the world might throw at us, we throw ourselves joyously and lovingly into looking toward Christ, look for those  imitating Christ, and being those helpers and shiners of light as we anticipate and celebrate the birth of a Savior who redeems the world.  

 

In Christ, 

Beth