QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Pastor Jenny explained the terms “false self” and “true self’ that she quoted from Thomas Merton. She said the broken pieces inside us reside in the ‘false self,’ while the “true self” is our belovedness, or “the secret beauty of our hearts.” “Are you afraid of the darkness inside you? Are you afraid of being truly alone in solitude with yourself?” she asked. The way to that true self is to let God into those dark places with us. “God will help us look at those broken things inside us, and they will start to dissolve, and we will see something beautiful come out of us.” Our true selves – our compassion – will come out shining as bright as the sun. 

In Lent, as we journey to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let’s see if we can be less afraid of the dark. To do this, we should keep our minds off earthly things and look to divine things. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church. God will help us show compassion to others.  Click here to watch the worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s 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]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on the Third Sunday of Lent, Hyelim Yoon explained that this is a story of two sons. The prodigal son, who had left home but dared to come back despite his past mistakes, asking for his Father’s forgiveness and receiving a generous welcome and so much more than he could have imagined. The elder son, the beloved child who stayed at home with his Father, but felt entitled to more recognition and love, was not very welcoming to his brother. 

One of the  reasons Jesus is telling this parable is to show that just like the elder son, we too are much broken from God even though we live in God’s home and profess to be righteous. We are as much broken from God as many others who live without Christ. When we live in a broken world, the brokenness comes into our hearts to become part of our lives, no matter how hard we resist.  Hyelim reminds us that we are God’s children, and like the prodigal son, we have to accept that we are in desperate need of God’s grace. To receive God’s love fully, we must ask God to help us face our brokenness. 

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we can learn to overcome our brokenness by being part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Hyelim Yoon’s sermon.

WORSHIP MUSIC | THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

🎼🎶“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice, which is more than liberty.”🎼🎶

On this Third Sunday of Lent, which is also Communion Sunday, we will have a special music performance featuring our Chancel Choir singing “Come Find Forgiveness and Love” by Don Besig.

Our hymns today draw on the theme that Jesus, the good shepherd, will always look after his sheep, even bringing back the lost ones. They also remind us of God’s love, justice, and mercy for all. As we reflect on God’s love and pardon for lost sinners in Bible times, we are filled with hope and joy that if we repent when we sin, God can forgive us too. The scripture this week comes from Luke 15:11-32 and tells the story of the Prodigal Son. Intern Hyelim Yoon will preach a sermon on the topic: “Broken Things: Broken From God.”

As we journey with Jesus during Lent and witness his suffering, we learn to manage our fear and anxiety and the difficulties we encounter and trust our Lord and Savior.

Video “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” 

“Sir Henry W. Baker,  editor-in-chief of Hymns Ancient and Modern, wrote the text of “The King Of Love My Shepherd Is” in 1868 based on the Welsh version of  Psalm 23. He draws connection between this well-known psalm and other New Testament images on the theme of the Good Shepherd saying that even though we do not always deserve his kindness, and we sometimes act foolishly, God loves us and his goodness towards us never fails. The hymn reflects on Jesus as a shepherd leading his followers from evil and despair towards salvation.” {Wiki}  Sir Henry  is said to have spoken  stanza three of this hymn as his last words before dying. This hymn is sung to four different tunes including  DOMINUS REGIT ME (Dykes)

Video “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” 

“The author of “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” is Frederick William Faber. He wrote this hymn in 1862 to the tune of WELLESLEY  by Lizzie Tourjee. Tourjee wrote this tune for her school’s graduation ceremony. Influenced by the rituals and traditions of Rome, Faber, an English clergy,  converted from the Anglican Church to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century. The theme of this hymn is based on the premise and paradox that a sovereign ruler, unlike earthly rulers demonstrates welcome, kindness, grace and mercy. All we need to do is have a simple faith that “rest[s] upon God’s word.” Faber wrote many widely known hymns such as “My God, how wonderful thou art,” and “Hark, hark, my soul, angelic songs are swelling.” {Wiki}

Are you sick, struggling with sin, exhausted, anxious about anything? Come worship with us, and you will find healing, forgiveness, rest, and peace here at PUMC. If you feel broken, remember, God loves you regardless of how you feel. Let us, therefore, lift our voices together in song to our God and King.

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

[Images Source: Google Images] [Videos Source: YouTube]

 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on Sunday, Pastor Jenny reminds us that we are broken from creation. “If we stop struggling against nature, we will find wisdom and healing and loving and harmony,” she says. “Only then will we be able to reconnect those broken pieces.” “God is always providing a way for us, she adds, “therefore we must  give him and the earth thanks because the things that we touch and eat are from the earth.”  At Princeton United Methodist Church, we can learn to overcome our brokenness by being part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon.

 

 

Daily Devotional | Sunday, February 28

Sunday, February 28

Ecclesiastes 9:11 – Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Photo by Keisha FinnieIn June 2020, Keisha Finne worked with artists Adam Serrano, Kaya Hobbs andKearasten Jordan to create a mural in memory of Black lives lost to police brutality, called “Say Their Names”. The mural is in Lancaster, PA.

“In a 2017 nationally representative study on prevalence of institutional discrimination in America, NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that 60% of Blacks (49% in urban areas and 67% in suburban areas) reported that they or a family member had been unfairly treated or stopped by a police officer due to race, compared to 27% of Hispanics, 13% of Asians, and 6% of Whites.” Excerpted from On the prevalence of racial discrimination in the United States, January 2019
Derived from a fictional 19th c Irish bartender, written originally in the form of a criticism of the press’ failure to do, is this charge that can be equally given to the church, “to afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted”. Considering the self-reporting of our siblings of color the nation, the press, media, the police, nor the church is successfully comforting the afflicted and offering a level playing field. And our black siblings are dying for it.


Action step: today, with brutal honesty ask if it isn’t way past the time when we as United Methodist discard any reservations about antiracism relating to white fragility and our fears of losing members and support. Here the voice of Jesus as George Floyd cries out, “You’re going to kill me, man. Can’t believe this, man. Mom, love you. Love you. Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”


Prayer: On Reading “How to Be an Antiracist”

God of all things, help me now.

I want to be an ally to my black brothers and sisters.

I want to be an ally to my brown brothers and sisters.

I want to be an ally to all who are oppressed by racist systems and policies.

And so I fight for their right to get the same education that I had.

For the right to acquire the same wealth that I have.

For the right to live in a “good” neighborhood as I do.

For the right, in short, to be like me.

And as I pray this, O God, my words convict me of my sin.

Why do I privilege my reality as the one that everyone should desire?

God, help me fight for the right for everyone to be themselves –

to live and love and speak from their own hearts.

Give me the courage to admit my false sense of superiority.

Give me eyes to see others as you see them.

To celebrate their distinctive ways of being in the world.

To honor their culture; to honor their values.

Holy One, open my ears. Open my eyes. Open my heart.

Lead me into humility. Call me into love.

Amen.

 

Elizabeth Moore, OSL

Abbot, the Order of Saint Luke shared on August 6, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism Email

Daily Devotional | Saturday, February 27

James Cone, Illustration: Uzo Njoku (UVA ’19)

Saturday, February 27

The Rev. James Cone, writing in the 1989 preface to his 1969 book, Black Theology & Black Power, offered this holy and human observation on his place in history, “Since theology is human speech and not God speaking, I recognize today, as I did then, that all attempts to speak about ultimate reality are limited by the social history of the speaker. Thus, I would not use exactly the same language today to speak about God that I used twenty years ago. Times have changed and the current situation demands a language appropriate for the problems we now face. But insofar as racism is still found in the churches and in society, theologians and preachers of the Christian gospel must make it unquestionably clear that the God of Moses and of Jesus makes an unqualified solidarity with the victims, empowering them to fight against injustice.”
Thirty years later we have, as a Conference answered the call to see that “insofar as racism is still found in the churches and in society, theologians and preachers of the Christian gospel must make it unquestionably clear that the God of Moses and of Jesus makes an unqualified solidarity with the victims, empowering them to fight against injustice.” We as a Conference committed ourselves, in holy conferencing, to antiracism. From 1969-1989 Rev. Cone saw movement, not completion of the task, but movement. We stand now at an historic moment of crisis in American Christianity. Future generations will be right to ask, “when hate arose yet again did they as leaders answer the call to antiracism?”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty ask simply, “can I, as a called church leader, ignore the call to antiracism?”


Prayer:

God of Unity, We come before you dismayed at our own divisions. We have struggled as your church to come to live in unity; but we are divided – along all the fault lines of our societies. The ruptures in our families, among friends, among denominations, among nations are wide and deep. When we attempt to get on the same page, we build taller walls and dig deeper trenches. God, help us! We know that Christ is not divided. We know that it is your baptism to which we have been called. It is your service to which we are compelled. You have called us to proclaim the gospel, but we even fight about what that is. Help us, God! Help us to give up our power and our privileges. Help us to yield for the sake and cause of the cross of Jesus. Help us to embrace and to live the foolishness of a life emptied of power and given to service, in the likeness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to walk in salvation – in the name of the Servant Christ, Amen.

Valerie Bridgeman Davis, The Africana Worship Book, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p.85

Daily Devotional | Friday, February 26

Friday, February 26

Matthew 10:36 – And a person’s enemies will be those of their own household.


The bronze statue (by Hank Willis Thomas) called "Raise Up" is part of the display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice,  shown on April 23, 2018. Brynn Anderson / AP.  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened to the public on April 26, 2018, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. It is located in Montgomery, AL.

War against another nation damages both nations, war against our own nation devastates us all. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writing in Stony the Road, offers this chilling observation about our racist history, “In the broadest terms, Reconstruction was a revolutionary time in American life—a time of national renewal extended out from four years of Civil War, death, and destruction that narrowed the gap between the country’s ideals and laws and advanced racial progress. Yet it was also a turbulent and brutally violent period, one marked by in the broadest terms, rapid economic change and new forms of white resistance that included everything from organized paramilitary assaults and political assassination to night rides and domestic terror.”
Watching last month as Americans attacked our Capital in violent insurrection Gates’ words rang out in challenge describing our own times as, “a turbulent and brutally violent period, one marked by in the broadest terms, rapid economic change and new forms of white resistance that included everything from organized paramilitary assaults and political assassination to night rides and domestic terror.”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty ask how you can lower the temperature, counter the rhetoric, and preach an antiracist message as we look forward to the Resurrection Sunday. We are called to solemn ministry as our nation wakes to a spring of either emergence from isolation into love or a summer of violence – our time is now to lead the church of Jesus Christ with holy compassion.


Prayer:

God whose name has been used to enslave those who bear your image,

God whose name has been used to steal this land and kill those who bear your image,

God whose name was called upon by Moses and Miriam and Martin Luther King Jr and Sojourner Truth, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

God who raised up prophets to speak truth to power, and poets to speak truth to stupid,

We call on your holy name to give us what we need to undo what has been done in your name.

We call on your name to bring your fierce mercy upon us and remove our complacency and our complicity.

We call on your name to heal the wounds of those whose daily reality we do not understand.

We call on your name to give us a holy curiosity about what being Black in America is really like, Lord.

We call on your name to free us from our cherished notions of being “good” that keep us from hearing this truth,

We call on your name to give us this day our daily truth, our daily humility, our daily rage, our daily hope.

This country is burning Lord…may is be a cleansing Holy Spirit fire.

Guide us to believe that the true name of God is stronger than what has been done in God’s name.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Nadia Boltz-Weber, Sunday Prayers, https://nadiabolzweber.substack.com/p/sunday-prayers-may-31st-2020

Daily Devotional | Thursday, February 25

Thursday, February 25

In John 8 we read the familiar, perhaps too familiar: When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.


Christ of Maryknoll by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

A chilling call to the church’s own failure in justice seeking is painfully present if you replace “civil rights activists” with “Methodists” or “Christians” in this passage from the New Jim Crow, where Michelle Alexander writes, “Challenging mass incarceration requires something civil rights advocates have long been reluctant to do: advocacy on behalf of those labeled criminals. Even at the height of Jim Crow segregation—when black men were more likely to be lynched than to receive a fair trial in the South—NAACP lawyers were reluctant to advocate on behalf of blacks accused of crimes unless the lawyers were convinced of the men’s innocence.”
Are we, comfortably nestled in our churches, inured to the raw accusation present when Jesus says to us, “let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”? The men who wish to stone her to death are not asking Jesus a sin question, they ask him for a legal opinion. The writer of John captures perhaps the most powerful amicus curiae brief in history, God asks us to see our guilty and the criminal siblings not as foreign to us, not as one of us who is lost, but as us.


Action step: today, with brutal honesty question how you feel towards the murderer, the rapist, the abusive spouse, and the drunk driver among us. Is there someone in your life, your congregation, your family, or even in the mirror for whom you cannot find compassion as it is modeled by Jesus in John 8? Ask Jesus to help you lay down your stones. Antiracism is only real when extended into the most challenging corners of our own anger and fear.


Prayer:

God,

Grant me justice, so that I may treat others as they deserve.

Grant me mercy, so that I don’t treat others as they deserve.

Grant me a humble walk with you, so that I may understand the difference.

 

Patricia McCaughan and Keith Yamamoto, from Race and Prayer: Collected Voices Many Dreams edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester L. Talton (Morehouse Publishing, 2003, p.166).

Daily Devotional | Wednesday, February 24

Wednesday, February 24

Romans 12:18 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.


Thurman. (Photo source unknown. Found on Google Images. He believed that personal spiritual renewal was important to the liberation process and that inward liberation was a prerequisite for social transformation. In his seminal 1949 book, Jesus and the Disinherited, Thurman provided an interpretation of the New Testament gospels that laid the foundation for a nonviolent civil rights movement.

These just may be the most challenging, and convicting words, Paul ever wrote. In Bring the War Home: the White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, historian Kathleen Belew writes: “In 1977, Louis Beam used a Texas Veterans Land Board grant—a program designed to provide economic benefits to returning veterans—to purchase fifty acres of swampland. On a landscape that recalled the rice paddies of Vietnam, Beam built Camp Puller, a Vietnam War–style training facility designed to turn Klansmen into soldiers.”
Clearly an overwhelming majority of Vietnam veterans did not return radicalized into the white power movement. Many returned to serve as pastors in our denomination as well as other Christian denominations, or to public service and the betterment of our nation. Still war’s role in the formation of the white power ideology present at the insurrection in our capital last month is undeniable. For the first time in history an entire generation of Americans grew up during wartime. These wars do not appear on the front page of newspapers or on the evening news. These wars challenge us as church leaders to ask during this Lent, “have we forgotten that our country is at war”? How do we answer our God if we are asked, “have you, so far as it depends on you, lived peaceably with all?”


Action step: today, with brutal honesty ask this question prayerfully of the Holy Spirit, “have I, so far as it depends on me, lived peaceably with all?” Do not be afraid of the answer but let God show you how to do so personally, corporately, and as a people.


Prayer:

“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.” Teach me how to order my days that with sure touch I may say the right word at the right time and in the right way — lest I betray the spirit of peace. Let me not be deceived by my own insecurity and weakness which would make me hurt another as I try desperately to help myself. Keep watch with me, O my Father, over the days of my life, that with abiding enthusiasm I may be in such possession of myself that each day I may offer to Thee the full, unhampered use of me in all my parts as “an instrument of Thy Peace.” Amen.

Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey: Meditations on the Spiritual Quest (Harper Row, 1961, p.104), cited on Renovare website, https://renovare.org/articles/make-me-an-instrument-of-thy-peace