WORSHIP MUSIC | SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

On this Second Sunday of Easter, April 11, Music Director Hyosang Park performs a handbell solo, and Pianist Julia Hanna treats us to beautiful classical music pieces.   Our hymns include “Spirit Of God” and “Open My Eyes, That I May See,” popular hymns for this season. “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us, a favorite hymn of mine,” fittingly brings this service to its close. 

 The hymn, “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us,” was first published by its composer Dorothy Ann Thrupp in a collection of songs titled “Hymns For The Young,” and sung to the music “Bradbury” by William B. Bradbury. It is a prayer  based on Psalm 23, with pleas for tender care from lost, needy children. The Shepherd responds with love. We are his lambs, and He, our Shepherd continues to lead us.

Video:  “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us,”      

In this Easter season, we celebrate new life in Christ, who triumphed over death and is alive again. Come, let us worship in the light of his teachings and his healing mercies, and come before his presence with music and hymns.  Pastor Rebekah Anderson is preaching on “The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith,” as recorded in the Scripture Mark 7:24-30.  

Click here to join us in this worship service and share in songs and music.

[Videos credit: YouTube]  [Photo credit: PUMC Library]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on Easter Sunday, Rev. Jenny Smith Walz proposed that we make Christ’s death and resurrection story our story and let it sink down deep within us. When that happens, we can do things we never could have dreamed of. We can show peace to one another. We can celebrate with joy. How profoundly transforming this story is! 

“We live falling short of the goals of loving God with our whole selves and with loving one another the way Christ loves us,” stated Pastor Jenny.  May Christ’s saving grace transform us and help us to love God and our fellow men moreShe advised us not to cover up the horrible parts of our story, adding, “If we admit our brokenness, God will go to any length to bring us back and repair our brokenness.” 

What is your death and resurrection story? How do you tell your story? You, too, can experience God’s love and transformation. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church, and be a part of this beloved community.  Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to the sermon.

WORSHIP MUSIC | FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

🎼🎵♬“Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, bind us together, Lord, bind us together in love. .🎼🎵♬

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we will have a special music performance featuring our Youth Choir singing “Your Servant I Will Be” by Mark Patterson. Our hymns today bring the message that we need to be united in love as the body of Christ.

The scripture this week comes from Mark 8:31-38 and Colossians 3:1-4.  As we journey with Jesus during Lent and witness his suffering, Jesus predicts his death and explains to us the way of the cross, saying, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” To appear with Christ in Glory, we must set our minds on things above and not on earthly things.   Rev. Jenny Smith Waltz will preach a sermon on the topic:  “Broken From Self.”


VideoBind Us Together” 

Bob Gillman wrote the text and composed the tune to “Bind Us Together” in 1974. This hymn’s theme is that love binds us all together in unity, as reflected in Colossians 3:14 and Ephesians 4:1-6. Gillman started writing songs at the age of 13 when he became a Christian. His interest in music included guitar and banjo playing. He also wrote children’s books, “Tales of Upchurch Station,” being one of them.

Video: “When We Are CalledTo Sing Your Praise”

Mary Nelson Keithahn, a retired UMC ordained pastor, wrote the hymn “When We Are Called To Sing Your Praise” in 2000. Ralph Vaughan set it to the tune KINGSFOLD. In 2016 Keithahn published a chapter book for children entitled “Elfie: Adventures on the Midwest Frontier.”


If you’re looking for inspiration: Come worship with us at PUMC and enjoy our hymns and music. They will give you hope with renewed faith. If you suffer or grieve, you will find healing here. If you are burdened with sin, you will find forgiveness here. If you are exhausted, you will find rest here. Remember, Jesus died for you. There is a place for you here.

Click here to join us as we share in songs, prayer, music, scripture, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s Sermon.

[Images courtesy of Google Images, and PUMC] [Videos Source: YouTube]

Daily Devotional | Saturday, February 20

Saturday, February 20

Luke 13:34-35, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”


The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, left, accompanied by the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, march outside the US Capitol during a Poor People's Campaign rally in June 2018. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

This is not God’s will; it is Jesus lament. Antiracism is not a program or one more training. Antiracism is a clarion call to prophetic ministry, a reminder that the apparatuses of systemic racism were set in place on our watch. Change will not result from acquiring a new set of videos, books, trainings, or songs – it will arise when we engage in fearless ministry as prophetic preachers, teachers, and leaders. The moment is now, there is hope, but there’s little time.
“Another sign of hope is the Reverend William J. Barber II, the most Martin Luther King–like figure in our time. His Moral Monday movement and now the Poor People’s Campaign is, alongside people such as Father Michael Pfleger and his great ministry at St. Sabina Church in Chicago, the Reverend Katie M. Ladd at Queen Anne United Methodist Church in Seattle, and the Reverend Michael Mc-Bride at the Way Christian Center in Berkeley, California, the last hope for prophetic Christianity in America.” Race Matters: 25th Anniversary Addition, by Cornel West


Action step: today, with brutal honesty identify fears that may hinder your taking up the biblical authority to preach, teach, or lead prophetically. We all have fears in ministry, are there members of your church whose opposition to antiracism inhibit you? Let God speak to you in prayer that your fears or concerns might melt before the flame of truth.


Prayer: Prayer for Humankind

God of all humanity,

You call us to bring about healing and wholeness for the whole world –

for women and men of all races and cultures and creeds.

Help us to respond to a world that is groaning under the weight of injustice

and broken relationships.

Remind us that differences are a gift,

and interdependence a strength from the same creative God.

Strengthen us to resist the forces that encourage polarization and competition

rather than understanding and cooperation.

We know that your reign is not built on injustice and oppression,

but on the transformation of hearts –

new life, not just reordered life.

Teach us forgiveness, O God.

Bring us reconciliation.

Give us hope for the future.

We pray in Jesus’ love.

Amen.

 

Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.76).

Daily Devotional | Tuesday, February 16

Tuesday, February 16

Acts 2:7-11 – Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?”


Luke goes on to list a diversity of nations of origin each testifying to the universal nature of the Great Commission in Matthew 28. We in the church today often walk the razor’s edge separating patriotism from nationalism. American exceptionalism, as expressed for instance in Lee Greenwood, “[a]nd I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free” offers a view on our nation more in line with the experiences of the dominant culture. People of color, the LGBTQ+, and the disabled may recognize their reality more accurately portrayed in Nikki Giovanni’ poem BLK History Month:

If Black History Month is not
viable then wind does not
carry the seeds and drop them
on fertile ground
rain does not
dampen the land
and encourage the seeds
to root
sun does not
warm the earth
and kiss the seedlings
and tell them plain:
You’re As Good As Anybody Else
You’ve Got A Place Here, Too

Anthropologist Jonathan Marks writing for the PBS series Race – the Power of Illusion challenges us to think about the way we see people. “Here’s the paradox. The classifications that are the most arbitrary, and the least natural, seem to be the ones that matter the most to us. People could be categorized in many ways. There are short people and tall people; people with straight teeth and crooked teeth; with wiry, muscular, or chunky body builds; with freckles; with more or less body hair. These are natural differences, but they’re not very important to us. What is important? Whether you’re an American or an Iraqi. Whether you’re a Nazi, a Communist, a Democrat, or a Republican. An Oriole fan or a Yankee fan. Rich or poor. Us or them. These categories of history and of society, the categories of human invention, are far more important to our daily lives than the categories of natural variation in our species.”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty, and starting from the thesis that the arbitrary categories white, male, and English language still structurally dominate church life ask what changes, if any, to these systemic structures have happened in your congregation and where is God asking you to lead next?


Prayer: A Prayer for Challenging Racism

God,

You are the source of human dignity,

and it is in your image that we are created.

Pour out on us the spirit of love and compassion.

Enable us to reverence each person,

to reach out to anyone in need,

to value and appreciate those who differ from us,

to share the resources of our nation,

to receive the gifts offered to us

by people from other cultures.

Grant that we may always promote

the justice and acceptance

that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony.

Help us to remember that we are one world and one family.

Amen.

from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Shared on July 24, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail

Daily Devotional | Monday, February 15

Monday, February 15

John 1:45-46b – Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?


Mural artist Shane B. repairs his George Floyd mural in downtown Birmingham, AL, after it had been defaced.
Image from Birmingham Real-Time News.

What’s up with Nathaniel’s attitude toward Nazareth? “Because it was a No place: it is never mentioned in the Old Testament, the Jewish Talmud and Midrash, nor in any extant pagan writing.” The College Press NIV Commentary on John. Nathaniel’s reaction exemplifies a very human mistrust of the other. The idea of race, constantly evolving and re-weaponized against people of color, is rooted in our acquiesce to otherness.
“Hunky” has a simple derivation, though with arresting complications…Josephine Wtulich’s American Xenophobia and the Slav Immigrant attempts interestingly to untangle bohunk and hunky. Wtulich allows that between 1900 and 1930, bohunk came to mean not only a Bohemian–Hungarian but also a “Pole, Slovak and even an Austrian” or “any uneducated, unskilled immigrant from central and east Europe.” Thus when a Texas planter fretted that “Bohunks wanted to intermarry with whites,” and added, “Yes, they’re white but they’re not our kind of white,” it is by no means certain to whom he refers.” From Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White, by historian David Roediger.


Action step: today, with brutal honesty prayerfully consider the racist epithets of your youth. While we may have managed to bury the words themselves, in powerful ways their shadow remains. The trope that asks “do you cross the street when you see a group of young black males” asks us to examine the vulgar and derogatory words directed at otherness of race, class, disability, gender, and sexuality we carried forward from youth. Ask God to cleanse you today of the remnants of cultural indoctrination to which all of us were subjective no matter where we were raised, or our own ethnic, racial, class, denominational backgrounds.


Prayer: A Prayer for One Flesh in Christ

My Lord and my God, I see you being torn apart on the cross still, as we persist in tearing the body from the spirit. You dared to penetrate the flesh of humankind with the presence of God. You took on the flesh of every human being.

Help us now, after all these years of denial, to finally embrace your incarnation, to feel, in the depths of our beings, that we are part of each other’s bodies in your body, may we clasp to ourselves the flesh of all persons, especially those whose flesh looks different from ours, whose language is strange to our ears, whose music sounds dissonant, whose sexuality offends our sensibilities. May we have the courage to hold the sick and the old to our health and our youth. Thus may we behold the glory of the Word become flesh as he dwells among us. Amen.

Paul Moore, Jr., from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003), 141.

Daily Devotional | Sunday, February 14

Sunday, February 14

Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.


Who hasn’t wept singing these words from Dan Schutte’s Here I Am Lord “I will break their hearts of stone give them hearts for love alone…”? Can we truly claim to have receipt of a “heart of flesh” if we have merely traded one heart of stone for a newer version? We must, with vigilant hearts, examine whether we are deceiving ourselves about race as pointed out in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age Colorblindness.
“The rules and reasons the political system employs to enforce status relations of any kind, including racial hierarchy, evolve and change as they are challenged. The valiant efforts to abolish slavery and Jim Crow and to achieve greater racial equality have brought about significant changes in the legal framework of American society—new “rules of the game,” so to speak. These new rules have been justified by new rhetoric, new language, and a new social consensus, while producing many of the same results. This dynamic, which legal scholar Reva Siegel has dubbed “preservation through transformation,” is the process through which white privilege is maintained, though the rules and rhetoric change.”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty examine your understanding of Methodism, have we as a denomination changed our hearts of stone or have we replaced them utilizing “preservation through transformation” into new, shiny forms of white, and frankly primarily male, privilege? What can you do about this? How can you address this within your church? How will you address this within the Conference?


Prayer: A Prayer of Lament

O God, our Divine Parent,

the truth is often uncomfortable,

disquieting, disturbing

but no less the truth.

The strife of racial tension claims another life;

someone pays the price for years of suspicion,

mistrust, separation, and hatred.

The bleak wilderness is once again our address,

where we cry with hunger and thirst

for what seems to be a false dream.

Is “liberty and justice” really for all?

You, O God, who know us so well,

we seem incapable of being comforted,

saturated with the aches and pains of

bitter language, scornful treatment, spiteful violence.

What do we do with our unresolved, unfinished, unending grief?

Where can we turn with unpalatable hurt

that pollutes our thoughts and soils our shoes?

“Anger and alleluias careen around

within us, sometimes colliding.”[1]

O God of tender compassion,

known for your steadfast love and faithfulness,

will our discomfort ever find resolution;

can’t you fix this – or inspire us to?

When we accept the phony gods of

persistent attitudes, arrogance and superiority

step up, step on, step in to quell our self-made idols.

Show us how wrong we are, how much we have lost,

how significantly more we have to learn,

how our hearts are frozen,

the kind of courage it takes to unclench our fist

and open our hand.

Confident that you hear our lament,

teach us the ways of peace, patience, hope and love

so that we may again praise you,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

George R. Crisp, OSL, September 17, 2020 ~ this prayer was shared on September 20, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail

[1] Borrowed from Ann Weems, Psalms of Lament.

Daily Devotional | Saturday, February 13

Saturday, February 13

1 Samuel 16:6-7 – When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”


How beautiful would life be, how egalitarian would be the church, and how quickly would we adopt antiracist practice if we took to heart God’s teaching to Samuel? Ibram X. Kendi, writing in How to be an Antiracist, zeroes in on the heart of racism, which is the ease with which we generalize from an individual to a group. This generalizing upward is no accident, we were taught it overtly as well as through patterns deeply encoded in the dominant culture’s apparatuses. Kendi writes, “But generalizing the behavior of racist White individuals to all White people is as perilous as generalizing the individual faults of people of color to entire races. “He acted that way because he is Black. She acted that way because she is Asian.” We often see and remember the race and not the individual. This is racist categorizing, this stuffing of our experiences with individuals into color-marked racial closets. An antiracist treats and remembers individuals as individuals. “She acted that way,” we should say, “because she is racist.”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty allow yourself to examine ways in which you are programmed to think of groups not individuals. Try not to think of this as a shame exercise, we are all products of a racist structure. If we accept that racism isn’t the exception but the rule then we are free to embrace antiracism not as an accusation but as a call to redeem creation in a godly way. To look not on outward appearance but on the heart of those we meet.


Prayer:

Holy One,

In your image

You have created humankind, in great diversity.

We give thanks for the differences—

of cultures and ethnicities, of histories and life-stories, of skin colour and language and

hearts that love the world.

We watch in horror as Power desecrates Black and Brown bodies;

walks on their sacredness, kills and subjugates,

in thousands of ways, hidden and overt.

We must not stop at watching—

held back from right action by our horror or seeming powerlessness.

Grant us hearts that listen and learn;

egos that are willing to accept when our own racism is called out.

Grant us courage, to disassemble the systems,

the stories, the mythos, that privilege whiteness over all others.

Give us your Holy Spirit’s wind to call out racism in all its forms—

inside our hearts, inside the church, and in your world,

give us the strength, the wisdom and the will to root out White Fragility,

and White Supremacy, so that they would never again do harm,

never again take away, never again kill.

Help us to be anti-racist,

in all that we say, in all that we do, in all that we are.

It is time. It is well past time.

God of all creation,

bless us all with what we need, to march on.

To live this work of anti-racism.

Today.

Every day.

Always.

In Jesus’ name.

May it be.

-A prayer by the Right Rev. Richard Bott. https://www.united-church.ca/prayers/anti-racism-prayer

Daily Devotional | Friday, February 12

Friday, February 12

Matthew 7 – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”


Vivian Malone Jones arrives to register for classes at the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium as Governor Wallace stands in the schoolhouse door. Image courtesy of the United States Library of Congress

In the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age Colorblindness, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander offers, unintentionally, this illustration of Jesus’ warning.

“When we think of racism we think of Governor Wallace of Alabama blocking the schoolhouse door; we think of water hoses, lynchings, racial epithets, and “whites only” signs. These images make it easy to forget that many wonderful, good-hearted white people who were generous to others, respectful of their neighbors, and even kind to their black maids, gardeners, or shoe shiners—and wished them well—nevertheless went to the polls and voted for racial segregation.”

Richard Allen was born a slave on Valentine’s Day in 1790 in Philadelphia, PA. He would go on to create the first independent Black denomination in the United States, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. (A.M.E.)  photo courtesy of Google Images
In 1968 the United Methodist Church was born out of a merger between the EUB and the Methodist Church itself a 1939 merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church. The 1939 merger was made possible by an overt act of corporate racism, the creation of the segregated Central Jurisdiction. In 1968 the Central Jurisdiction was erased but not its stain on our history. From the moment Richard Allen left to form the AME we, like the nation, have lived with the specter of racism. The only solution to racism is antiracism.

Action step: Today, with brutal honesty pray for clarity around the racism present in our corporate DNA. Are you ready, and who in your church will join with you, in the act of dismantling racism in your church?


Prayer:

Together we will create brave space

Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”

We exist in the real world

We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.

In this space

We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,

We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,

We call each other to more truth and love

We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.

We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.

We will not be perfect.

This space will not be perfect.

It will not always be what we wish it to be

But

It will be our brave space together,

and

We will work on it side by side.

By Micky ScottBey Jones, posted on https://oppeace.org/blog/2019/11/20/an-invitation-to-brave-space/

Daily Devotional | Thursday February 11

Thursday, February 11

Song of Songs 1:5 – Black am I and beautiful, O Jerusalem girls, like the tents of Qedar, the pavilions of Salmah.


After appearing in the 1968 London production of "Hair," Marsha Hunt and the image of her large Afro became an international icon of black beauty. She made history as the first Black woman to cover England's high fashion glossy, Queen, and appeared on the cover of British Vogue in 1969, a huge feat during that era.Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer via Getty Images

It is vital to note that as far back as Jerome’s translation this passage caused racial anxiety, the technical name is melainophobia, for early translators and church fathers. It is a mistake to think that the 1,200 years prior to the institution of African slavery were free of prejudice based on skin tone and body characteristic. The most potent tools of institutional racism are present in any dominant culture’s assertions around beauty.

In Race Matters: 25th Anniversary Addition, Cornel West writes: “White supremacist ideology is based first and foremost on the degradation of black bodies in order to control them. One of the best ways to instill fear in people is to terrorize them. Yet this fear is best sustained by convincing them that their bodies are ugly, their intellect is inherently underdeveloped, their culture is less civilized, and their future warrants less concern than that of other peoples.”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty look deeply into the visual representations of not only biblical, but all peoples in your local setting. Is there a white Madonna and child in your stained glass? What posters hang in your church? Are there representatives of people of color? If so look deeply at these. Do the figures conform to Eurocentric ideals of beauty? Drilling deeper, do materials connected to your church implicitly or explicitly promote Eurocentric heteronormative images of Christianity. Antiracism is anti-objectification and normalizing of the dominant culture.