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.

Hymns for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

“O Sing a Song of Bethlehem,” “My Soul Gives Glory to My God,” “Il est né le Divin Enfant: |Hymns for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

COME SING WITH US THIS FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT 

Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing well-known or new hymns and “gospel and folk songs” that lift us to Heaven. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope. Our hymns this Fourth Sunday of Advent – the last Sunday before Christmas – resonate with the theme of peace as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a few days. The Messiah’s coming will indeed bring liberation.

Video “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” 

“O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” was written by Louis Fitzgerald Benson of Philadelphia (1855-1930). It portrays Jesus’ life from birth,  his growing up to adulthood, his ministry, death, and resurrection. The stanzas describe scenes about Jesus in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, and Calvary. They speak of ordinary human experiences such as our desire to hear angels, our enjoyment of nature, our praying for God’s peace, and our longing for Jesus’ second coming:

‘The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today; of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth; the angels sing always’

Video  “My Soul Gives Glory to My God”  

“My Soul Gives Glory to My God,” written by Dr. Miriam Therese Winter, paraphrases the “Magnificat,” Mary’s Song, as recorded in Luke 1: 46-55. For centuries, people thought that with the “Magnificat,” their leaders were bent on changing the status quo with a reversal of economic fortunes. They considered the “Magnificat” a dangerous hymn because it sings of promising food for the hungry, power for the powerless, and resource sharing. However, Dr. Winter notes. “It is a song of hope for times of disparity and for any situation in which we feel personally or systemically overwhelmed. It is just the song for a time such as this:”

‘My soul gives glory to my God; My heart pours out its praise. God lifted up my loneliness; In many marvelous ways.’

Video   “Il est né le Divin Enfant” 

Il est né, le Divin Enfant,” published for the first time in 1862 by R.  Grosjean, a French organist, is a traditional French Christmas carol. The English translation is “He is born, the Heavenly Child.” The song describes Jesus’ birth as the prophets had foretold and the 4000 years wait for this happy event. It acknowledges Christ’s’ humble birth in a stable and calls on the Kings of the Orient to look after the Holy Child:

‘He is born, the Heavenly Child. Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding. He is born, the Heavenly Child, Let all sing His nativity.’

Click here to watch the PUMC worship service, listen to the beautiful music, the children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.

 

Sermon “Rekindle The Gift”

On World Communion Sunday, October 6, 2019, Pastor Jennifer Smith-Walz preached a sermon titled “Rekindle The Gift.” The Scripture for the week is 2 Timothy 1: 1-14.

World Commuion DayDo you ever waver in your faith? Not sure what you believe? Are you perhaps feeling like your faith isn’t quite enough? Or maybe it’s not God you question so much as the church – or how people receive you as a Christian?

There’s the story of Tim, a young pastor struggling a lot about his faith. It seems hard. He looks foolish. He is perhaps tired of defending Paul in prison or Jesus Christ on the cross. If the resurrection is real and Christ has conquered death, why is life still so difficult? Maybe Tim’s been prosecuted himself. Or he is probably exhausted helping others navigate as well. In whatever way, it takes guidance, courage, perseverance, and patience to grow strong in faith.

In the Scripture, Paul knew Timothy’s sincere faith was a result of the godly influence of his mother and grandmother, who taught him the Scriptures. Here’s what he told him: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Parents and grandparents are there to provide godly training in the home and pass their faith to the next generation. When we believe in God, we should encourage our children and grandchildren to keep believing and following Christ.

Combined Choirs World Communion Sunday

Many conversations show that a lot of people have a spiritual hunger, for they do not connect to something bigger or one another. That’s what Paul is doing here for Tim. He is rekindling the gift that is within. Remember Lois and Eunice and what they did for their family? We must pray and worship always, even in times of adversity. Prayer in faith is not something the world still understands. Jesus has destroyed death and brought life and immortality so we should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. But know that the joy of church and worship rekindle in us a gift, for which we must give thanks.

We don’t know all of where God is leading us, but we are and can be a witness. We need each other! Let us dismantle racism. Let the Holy Spirit give us the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline and help us remove the feeling of cowardice. We need one another’s differences, worship styles, biblical understandings, life experiences, questions. We need dreams of multiculturalism, sincere worship, and even more courageous conversations.

As we come to the worldwide Communion table, remember to be inspired. Be encouraged to connect with something bigger than ourselves. Learn to connect and have a greater love for one another as Christ himself did. “Guard the good treasures entrusted to you.”

The sermon is a podcast on this webpage under the category worship. Here is the link

For the complete video of the October 6 service, found on Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page, click here.

PUMC Lenten Reflections March 12 – April 16, 2019

 

Journeying through Lent opens us up to see ourselves honestly, and to accept God’s grace in new ways. For Lenten Tuesdays, starting March 12, at noon in the chapel, PrincetonUMC offers 30-minute Lenten reflections followed by a light lunch. The entrance is on Nassau Street, at the corner of Vandeventer Avenue, and all are welcome. Invite your family and friends to join you.

 

Life in Community

Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash – February 5, 2017 –  Isaiah 58: 1-12

As we as a faith community think together about what life in community means for us, I share with you this quote from a favorite author/thinker, Eugene Peterson. He says, “There can be no maturity in the spiritual life, no obedience in following Jesus, no wholeness in the Christian life, apart from an immersion in, and embrace of, community. I am not myself by myself.”

Each of the Old Testament passages for this month, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Exodus speaks about God’s intentions around our living in community. This month we will explore what it means to live and serve as God’s people not just as individuals but also in community.

Looking about him at the needs of the homeless, the hungry and the oppressed, Isaiah could no longer keep still. The self-indulgent displays of sackcloth and ashes, he declares, are not acceptable to God! The only true way to observe a fast is by liberating the oppressed, sharing your bread with the hungry, and opening your own house to the homeless!

So let’s go right to the Isaiah text and examine it in a few different ways. At the literal level, and this may be the only time you ever hear me talk about a Bible passage literally, this passage is a prophetic encouragement to the people of God (1) to actively do justice for the oppressed and (2) to show mercy to the most vulnerable. The prophet lists these most vulnerable as the hungry, the homeless, and the naked, all of whom, he says, are “your own flesh.” By this last phrase the prophet relies on the teaching of ;Genesis. 1 and 2 all humans are bone of each-other’s bones and flesh of each-other’s flesh. The prophet understands that all humans are family, for we share a common ancestor. For the prophet, it is only sin that keeps us from acknowledging that we are family, and living as family.

The prophet says that doing such acts of justice and mercy will result in the rapid healing of the people of God. It will result in a renewed and improved relationship with God, in which God’s people communicate with God freely: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.” God’s people will experience God’s presence.

To ponder an allegorical sense of this scripture, think of Christ’s own example of doing justice and mercy. This passage gives the people of God in the Old Testament an early glimpse of the heart and way of Jesus Christ, and it refreshes our vision of the same. In Jesus’ life and ministry we see him feed the hungry, defend the oppressed, he stands up for women’s right, he loves the outcast, the despised, the rejected, and the sinner, and calls on the rich and powerful to give their money to the poor. Similarly, by sharing in Christ’s merciful self-offering, we share in his merits, most especially in the eternal life he has merited.

With an eye to the moral sense of this passage, we find it right on the surface: we must do the works of justice and mercy the Lord’s prophet tells us to do, using Jesus as our example: both in the things Jesus himself did in the flesh, and in the ways Jesus’ way is multiplied before our imagination by the Christ-patterns of the saints.

Finally in the anagogical sense: Surprisingly, the inspired prophet says “your light will break forth like the dawn.” God’s light becomes our light, for the Church is betrothed to Christ. When we do acts of mercy and justice, we genuinely participate in the eternal and intelligible light who is the Holy Trinity.

Acts of justice and mercy, because they are acts of love, allow us to partake in the divine nature. Acts of justice and mercy are acts of worship, by which we glimpse the comforting presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: we sense that “the glory of the Lord” is our “rear guard.” God protects us, and we glimpse God’s glory (behind us, guiding & protecting us) out of the corner of our eye, though we do not yet see God face to face. We should not miss the opportunity to give acts of justice and mercy to all, especially those in need; for we are most in need ourselves, and God has given us mercy and justification. St. Gregory Nazianzus reminds us that Christians do not just have altars inside church buildings; anytime we see a beggar, there is God’s altar, awaiting our offerings. Continue reading “Life in Community”

Snowed in by Jonas? Worship virtually!

jennifer gromada
Jennifer Gromada: ‘How great thou art…’

Churches all over Princeton are closed under a blanket of snow. But — this is the Lord’s Day! Let’s use the treasure of social media to worship together. Post your favorite picture (of snow or anything else) and your favorite Scripture verse, and share it! Tell if it’s OK to share on the Facebook page of Princeton United Methodist Church! Or email me (bfiggefox@gmail.com) and I’ll put it on the Facebook page.

Pastor Jana started us off with this verse from Isaiah 25:4-5 “For You have been a strong-place for those who could not help themselves and for those in need because of much trouble. You have been a safe place from the storm…” And Jennifer Gromada contributes this photo and the line of a favorite hymn.