Dear Resurrection Family,
The events of this last Wednesday were traumatic. I spoke with a number of our leaders yesterday in various Zoom gatherings to ask how they were feeling. Here’s what I heard: angry, frightened, hurt, disappointed, shocked, very sad, grieving, disbelief. These were both Republican and Democrats.
I felt all of these things as I watched the events unfold on Wednesday. I’d tuned in to watch the President’s speech from a window on my computer screen while working to complete this weekend’s sermon on "When Christians Get it Wrong," the second in our series on A Thinking Person’s Guide to Faith. I don’t typically watch the news while working on sermons, but I felt a concern about what could happen in D.C. that day.
With the President’s speech playing in the corner of my screen I continued to work on this sermon. After the speech I switched to CSPAN for coverage of something I’d never paid attention to before, the certification of the Electoral College vote. In the midst of this, CSPAN’s coverage broke away to protestors pushing through barricades, then eventually to protestors streaming into the Capitol building. A short time later, in disbelief, I watched the members of Congress being asked to don gas masks and eventually being secreted to safety. Back to the front of the building with people scaling the building, back inside to people breaking in windows… you get it, by now nearly everyone has seen the footage.
Work on the sermon stopped for hours as I watched, fielded phone calls and texts from frightened parishioners and colleagues, and worked to offer some response on social media.
It was late that night, while watching the reconvened proceedings in the House and Senate, that I got back to the sermon that I’ll be sharing with you this weekend, a sermon that I saw playing itself out before my eyes on my computer screen.
So, let me tell you about this weekend.
This weekend I’ll offer the second in our series, A Thinking Person’s Guide to Faith, turning to this weekend’s message, “When Christians Get it Wrong.”
We’ve all heard Gandhi’s quote, “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians who are so unlike your Christ.” The sermon begins acknowledging that Christians do often get it wrong, but quickly moves to noting that it’s not just Christians that get it wrong, Hindus and Muslims and people of every adherent to every religion at times get it wrong. And, it’s not just religious people, it’s atheist and agnostics too. The issue is much deeper, it’s a human problem.
The problem winds its way throughout human history. It is found in every human heart. It is the perennial battle between good and evil, light and darkness, love and hate. We all know this battle. It is manifest in the actions of politicians and protestors, in Democrats and Republicans.
This is what I was working on as I watched CSPAN on Wednesday morning. As I wrote about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, even the temptations Jesus experienced and the inner battle St. Paul described in Romans 7, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do,” I saw my sermon illustrated in the video playing on the corner of my screen.
Join us this weekend as we learn about why we struggle with these things, and the Bible’s answer, not only to our human struggle, but to what it looks like when Christians, and humans, get it right – a simple gospel sermon that is surprisingly pertinent this week.
Worship with us at cor.org/live tomorrow at 5 pm or Sunday at 7:30 am, 9:15 am, 11 am or 5 pm – you’ll be able to select from modern or traditional worship styles. You can also join us on our YouTube channel and subscribe. Or join us on television if you live in Kansas City on KMCI, Channel 38, at 8 or 11 am. All times are Central Time. For a listing of where KMCI is found on various cable providers, click here.
I noted last week in my enote that in the midst of the pandemic, we’ve seen a remarkable expansion of our ministry. We saw that again on Christmas Eve. Last year we had about 40,000 people join us for worship on Christmas Eve at all our campuses and online. This year we had over 120,000 people worship with us as we lit our candles and reflected upon Christ’s light.
This weekend in worship I’ll announce the total of the Christmas Eve Offering, 100% of which goes to benefit low-income children and families through a variety of ministries and partnerships in Kansas City and beyond. I’d been worried the offering might be down this year because we were not together in person, plus with the impact of economic uncertainty. I’m glad to say that did not happen, and I look forward to sharing the total this weekend!
Next week, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This national holiday not only honors Dr. King, who dedicated his life to the nonviolent struggle for racial equality, but also challenges citizens to engage in volunteer service in their communities. At Resurrection, this is a “day on,” not a “day off.” We encourage each of you to find a way to serve and to learn on either Saturday, January 16, or Monday, January 18.
When you go to our website (cor.org/MLK) you will find opportunities and details:
One of the positive things that has come out of our experiences in the past year is that we have new ways to reach people beyond our walls. The 2021 Women’s Conference is an exciting example.
This annual conference brings together women to worship, learn, connect and inspire one another – and this year we’re reaching outside the walls to do this virtually! You can participate in the conference from you home February 19 and 20 (Friday, 6:30-9 pm and Saturday, 8:30 am – 2 pm). This year’s theme is "Grace Upon Grace," and you can check out the seven amazing speakers and register today on their website: inspiredforlifeconference.org.
Your registration gives you the full conference experience and content and includes on-demand access to the speaker messages for three months. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends and family from across the country to join you for what will be a truly inspiring and uplifting experience.
Presenting a Bible to third graders is a cherished United Methodist and Church of the Resurrection tradition. This is an important moment in the children's faith journeys, and even though we aren’t able to do this in a live worship service, we have a special celebration planned for all our third graders.
If Resurrection is your child's church home, please register your third grader here by January 19, and our KiDSCOR staff and volunteers will make sure their Bible is delivered to them. We’ll be taking photos of these presentations to share in a special celebration on Sunday, January 31. Then, on that Sunday afternoon, we’ll invite all third graders to join me for a special Zoom call from 1-2 pm.
I can’t wait to be able to see these third graders and share this important milestone with them! Register today so they don’t miss out.
I know a lot of us make New Year resolutions. I love to encourage you to include among your resolutions specific ways you will grow in your faith. I remind you that there are five essential practices that can help us become more deeply committed Christians – worship, study, serving, giving and sharing your faith. I encourage you to make a commitment to find a way to more deeply engage in each of these practices in the coming year.
I look forward to worshipping with you this weekend.
In Christ’s Love,
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