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Gifts From Africa: Desmond Tutu and Ubuntu - January 18, 2015

Genesis 1:26-31
John 8:31-33

In her book Hard Choices Hillary Clinton notes that President Obama "acknowledged that historically Western powers had too often seen Africa as a source of resources to be exploited or as a charity cause in need of patronage." As we celebrate Africa Month we are looking at some of the gifts that have come to us from Africa, not to be exploited but to be treasured. Last week we reached back to the early days of the Christian faith to St. Augustine, one of the formative thinkers of the Christian faith. He lived in the 300's in northern Africa in what is now known as Algeria.
Next week we will pull out all the stops with Africa Day. Sesitshaya Marimba Band will play and we'll hear updates on our kids at the orphanage Jama Letu, located in the middle of Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and of Africa University located in Zimbabwe at the southern end of Africa. We'll also hear about the progress of Imagine No Malaria.
Today I want to go to the southernmost end of Africa, indeed to South Africa and a figure from our own time: Desmond Tutu. Though he is now retired, his name is familiar to many of us from his leadership in the anti apartheid movement of the 70's and 80's, and in healing South Africa after apartheid ended.

Read more: Gifts From Africa: Desmond Tutu and Ubuntu - January 18, 2015

God’s Purposes Cannot Be Thwarted - January 4, 2015

Isaiah 6:1-6
Matthew 2:1-12

In her poem that has turned into The Hymn of Promise, Natalie Sleeth wrote, "In our end is our beginning." She was talking about resurrection from the dead. Her words also fit the Gospel of Matthew, for the beginning and the ending of the gospel have common themes.
Let's start at the end. After Jesus died on the cross, the religious leaders gathered before Pilate to ask for a guard to be placed at Jesus' tomb. "We remember what that imposter said while he was still alive," they said, "'After three days I will rise again.'" So Pilate placed soldiers at Jesus' tomb to prevent a staged resurrection. Of course, no number of soldiers could prevent the resurrection.
Now let's move to the beginning of Jesus' life. Another authority figure, this time King Herod, heard about the birth of a new king of the Jews. Matthew says King Herod "was frightened." Despite his great power and wealth, Herod, like many kings of his day, was insecure and a bit paranoid. Could a newborn king of the Jews someday displace him from the throne?

Read more: God’s Purposes Cannot Be Thwarted - January 4, 2015

The Story of Our Adoption - December 28, 2014

Galatians 4:4-7

My mother was an only child who was a surprise gift who came thirty years after her parents were married. My grandmother was forty-seven and my grandfather was fifty-seven. Grandma was quite heavy by that time and so did not show her pregnancy. Nor did she tell anyone she was pregnant. She simply went away for Christmas and came back with a baby girl.
I am the youngest of four. My father was home taking care of the other three while my mother was at the hospital in labor. Everyone, including him, had gone to bed. The hospital called to tell him I had been born and then he went back to sleep. The next morning, Mom heard the phone ring at the nurse's station. The nurse said, "Yes, she's fine. She had a little girl about 11:30 last night." And my mother thought, "That was my mother," who was sleeping down the hall from my father. It never occurred to him to go tell Grandma that I had been born.
My step-daughter, Erin called her Dad to say she was in labor. They lived on an army base at the time, and walked the two blocks to the hospital. Forty-five minutes later she called to say she was holding her son.

Read more: The Story of Our Adoption - December 28, 2014

Sleep in Heavenly Peace - December 24, 2014

Luke 2:1-20

You may know the story behind the writing of the carol, Silent Night. In 1818 in Oberndorf, Austria, the village church had planned to celebrate Christmas with a drama put on by a traveling group. Un-fortunately, the church organ was not working. (If you know anything about church organs you may know that is not an uncommon problem.) So they went to a private home for the drama. As he walked home, the associate priest, Josef Mohr, moved by the drama, looked down on the snow covered village. It reminded him of a poem about the birth of Jesus he had written a couple of years earlier. He thought it might make a good carol for the congregation to sing. The trouble was that broken organ. So the next day he went to the organist, Franz Gruber. With only a few hours to go, Herr Gruber wrote a simple melody that could be accompanied by guitar. That night they sang it for their congregation.

Read more: Sleep in Heavenly Peace - December 24, 2014

Infused with Glory - December 21, 2014

I Thessalonians 5:16-24
Romans 16:25-28
Luke 1:26-33

The melodies of glory infuse the stories of Jesus' birth. The carol we just sang comes from the song of the angelic host after the Angel of the Lord announced to the shepherds that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem. "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those whom he favors." I use those words each morning in my daily prayers all throughout the year.. I hope that glory can infuse my days.
While Mary's song is called "The Magnificat" from her first words, "My soul magnifies the Lord," and not "The Gloria", I think it is fair to say that glory characterizes her mood when she learns she is to give birth to God's Child. Maybe that should tell us something about glory because while Mary submits herself to God's will, she is also confused. Glory is not always simple or fun.
After she sang, Mary went to visit her older cousin, Elizabeth. As soon as she greeted Elizabeth, the child in Mary's womb leaped for joy. You could call it prenatal glory.
At the end of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul closes with glory: "to the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever."
So let's sing of glory now: "Gloria in excelsis deo."

Read more: Infused with Glory - December 21, 2014

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary. William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843


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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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