We are the body of Christ! That’s what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12. Jesus also talks about our connectedness to him in similar ways, perhaps most vividly in John 15 where he calls himself the vine and names us as his branches, abiding with him in all we do. This connectedness is an oft repeated claim in the church—whenever we meet to worship, study, serve, and share fellowship, we are called to remember this connectedness, especially since there are so many other forces (internal and external) in the world that can often lead to us feeling isolated, alone, apart.
Sunday’s worship service focused on this needed reminder but there’s another image that didn’t make the sermon that has always spoken to me about this connectedness we are called to share. It’s a practice I have mentioned before at First Presbyterian of Garner, a practice that the youth group of my first church taught me, a practice known as “Thumbs to the right.” That phrase was always spoken when we closed our youth group with prayer. By pointing thumbs to the right, we positioned our hands in such a way that when we held them together, each person’s right hand was holding up and supporting their neighbors left hand. The result was each person was supported while also supporting another.
But that’s not all!
Each person also intertwined fingers because, as one high school senior said: “Fingers are strengths and the webby parts in between are weaknesses; by holding them together we are admitting we share all those things, too.”
I come back to those images, those practices those words often in my own prayers and reflections, especially as I dream about the work of the church and what it may look like in this day and time. More and more I am convinced that the world needs Christ’s body—not to boss it around or to assert it’s rightness, but to lend its thumbs to the right. To support and be supported in ways that strengths and weaknesses are acknowledged, loved, and shared.
Wherever this week has found you thus far or where it will take you, I pray that this spirit of support, of belonging, of being part of Christ’s body will sustain and encourage you. May this good news hold you fast just as we hold on to one 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, February 12 service, that continued our new sermon Series: The Church: Then, Now, Next.
On Sunday, February 19, we conclude this series, as we also celebrate Transfiguration Sunday–the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. exploring a bit more about belonging and what distinguishes our Christian Fellowship from other community organizations, clubs, and social activities. Join us to hear how we are “Held Together” by Christ and what difference that can make to us and to the world.
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.*
*Souper Bowl Sunday: Thanks be to God for the Friendship Circle hosting another wonderful Souper Bowl Luncheon. Their leadership and the congregation’s generosity help us meet our fundraising goal to purchase new technology for our Sunday School classroom. The 2 cents a meal offering also was successful and will be donated to local organizations combatting food insecurity.
*Lent Begins February 22! Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days before easter. On Feb. 22, at 7:00pm FPCoG will host a service of prayer, music, and imposition of ashes to mark this time. We will also be joined by friends from White Memoiral in Willow Springs, NC as we share the journey towards the cross and beyond 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.
*February is Heart Health Month and our Wellness Activities Team is sharing helpful advice (like joining the Tuesday Walking Group!) for maintaining a healthy heart lifestyle each Sunday in worship. Come and see how you can feel God’s wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.
*March Spire articles are due February 20th.
*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.
* 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.