“Boyle…[was] a young priest sent to Bolivia’s mountains to lead the Mass. Boyle’s Spanish was poor, and his Quechua, the indigenous language, was worse than poor. As he starts climbing the mountain, he realizes he doesn’t have the words to the Mass and can’t say the Mass in Spanish, let alone Quechua. So he fanatically searches through his Spanish Bible to find the phrase “take and eat.”
“Everyone meets in a field with a little makeshift altar in the center. After the sermon, Boyle stands to lead the Mass. It’s a disaster. When he runs out of words, he just kind of puts the bread above his head. He is despondent. In the midst of his throes of self-pity, an aging woman approaches him with a health worker. The health care worker says that the woman hasn’t given a confession in ten years. Boyles nods, and suddenly, the woman unloads ten years of sins in a language he can’t understand. She speaks for thirty minutes. By the time he coughs up some words of absolution, he turns to see everyone is gone. His ride even left. And he is left with his failure at the top of a mountain, convinced that he is the worst priest that ever lived.
“Boyle picks up his backpack and starts to hoof it back down the mountain when he spies an old farmer walking toward him. The farmer is wearing tattered clothes, a rope for a belt, and his feet are caked in Bolivian mud. “Tatai,” he says, which is Quechua for “Father,” and motions Boyle to come close. As the young priest bends, the old campesino reaches into his coat pockets and retrieves a handful of rose petals. He then drops them all over Boyle’s head. He digs into his pocket and grabs more and then more. The petals fall and fall and fall.”
I pray that God‘s grace–divine, unmerited, and ever-expensive love, favor, and mercy–overflew like that for you this week. In ways that were grand and small. Loud or quiet. In ample abundance and in brief glimpses. And may that grace also lead each and everyone of us to be a source of God’s grace and love overflowing for another.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
See and share the Sunday, January 29th service, that continued our new sermon Series: The Church: Then, Now, Next.
On Sunday, February 5, we continue our series, remembering that in the church there should always be room for everyone! We embody that mission in celebrating Boy Scout Sunday as well as gathering at the Lord’s Table for Communion.
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and an emerging flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
* Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). Dress warmly! If you have any questions, contact the church office at 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
* Boy Scout Troop 392 is having a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. Please contact the church office at (919) 772-0727 for information on how to get your certificate for a dozen glazed donuts. The cost is $15 for each certificate which can be used at any Krispy Kreme location across the United States. (Not valid for in grocery store purchases.)
* The 2023 Flower Chart is up! The flower chart is posted in the hallway and ready for sign-ups. The cost of the flowers for the coming year is $40.00.
*Donna Gould’s mother-in-law, Annarah, turns 100 years old on February 7th. They are having a party at the assisted living facility where she is a resident. Donna is asking family and friends to send Annarah a birthday card to help her celebrate. If you want to help make Annarah’s birthday special please send her a birthday to let her know how much she is loved and how special she is. Contact the church office for more information at (919) 772-0727
*Men’s Breakfast: Our monthly Men’s breakfast is February 5, 8:45am-9:30am in the Fellowship Hall. Come for fellowship, food, and prayer. We’ll also continue discussion about Heart Health, including tips on CPR and hw to recognize signs of a stroke.
* Family Promise Potluck Luncheon: Family Promise is fast approaching! Our time to host will be April 2 – 9, 2023. To kick off our service to this mission we will host a luncheon and short program about Family Promise on February 26th. Representatives from the Wake County office will give a short presentation on homelessness and its current trends and will answer any question we have. The Missions team will provide the main course – BBQ. Bring your best side dishes and desserts! Come learn about this mission we have supported for 7 years!
*CNCB and Wellness Hygiene Item Drive: Community Navigators, Community Builders Youth group is planning a Women’s Health Event on Saturday, March 18. As part of the preparation for the event, the Wellness Activities Ministry team is coordinating with CNCB to have a Women’s Hygiene Item Drive beginning on February 12. Items can be brought to the church office during the week or placed in a bin in the Library on Sunday’s. The collection will run through March 12.
*Souper Bowl Sunday: Souper Bowl Luncheon will be on Sunday, February 12th. See the flyer below for details, but don’t worry, Confederate Bean and She Crab Soup are rumored to be on the list!!!
*Prayers for Peace: Our world continues to need prayers of word and deed for peace. As we prepare for a new year, may we pray for those affected by the extreme cold weather across the US, for violence in many communities such as Memphis, TN. Please continue to keep residents as well as law enforcement and first responders in your prayers in light of those struggling with gun violence in too many places in our nation (including Raleigh, NC). In our congregation, we have had many also who have suffered unexpected loss–continue to treat others and self with tenderness and grace.