As we continue in Lent, I’ve found my reflections and prayers have been focusing on asking God’s help to resist perfectionism.
This is not a new prayer for me! I’ve often struggled with the impulse that nothing les than 100% accuracy is sufficient in any task. And I’ve also, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that my efforts very rarely (if ever!) measured up to that expectation! And while I have always attempted to the best of my ability to be gracious towards others in this regard I have not always been the same to myself. I’ve often beaten myself up for the smallest mistakes or felt immense guilt for something I missed, even when the one my error affected has forgiven me and blessed with mercy.
That’s another reason why Nicodemus’s story from this past Sunday’s worship service means so much to me. This one who comes in the night to Jesus and leaves perhaps no less confused about Jesus than when he first opened his mouth, is still accepted, and named as a disciple. A bumbling and stumbling one, to be sure, but a disciple, nonetheless. It’s a powerful reminder that Christ comes and welcomes all of who we are as we try to follow his way of love and peace, and an encouragement to be gentle with ourselves and others along the way.
If I could have in the sermon, I would have also shown the video included in today’s post, a thoughtful, creative play on the beloved Christmas Hymn.
By changing the words to “O Come All Ye Unfaithful” the composers seek to put the message Nicodemus learned into our hearts and minds as well.
So if during this day, this week, this season (or during any other) if you feel down, unworthy, unacceptable, may this song break in and affirm the truth that it was for a broken world and broken people that Christ came, and that Christ journeyed the path of the cross. May you come to know that you are precious and loved no matter your doubts, mistakes, and shortcomings. May we all be strengthened as we stumble along Jesus following him into world God so richly loves.
The Lord bless and keep You As We do So,
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
See and share the service from March 5, the second Sunday in Lent Below.
On Sunday March 12th, we continue our Lenten series “Again and Again” proclaiming how “God Loves Us.” Such love surprises and startles and so as a reflection of this truth, we will have a guest in the pulpit: former FPCoG member Rev Ed Johnson will join us as our worship leader while Rev. Acton fills the pulpit at Ed’s church, White Memorial, Willow Springs.
*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.*
* The Presbyterian Women will be selling Easter Lilies and Hydrangeas to be placed in the Narthex and Sanctuary for Easter Sunday. Circle representatives will be in the Ogburn classroom collecting money and order forms again on 12th. The cost will be $16 per Lily and $22 per hydrangea. Please have orders in no later than March 15th.
*Don’t forget Daylight Savings is this weekend. We “Spring Ahead” 1hr so don’t forget to change those clocks before you head to bed Saturday night!
*Family Promise Week is April 2-9! We had a wonderful visit from Family Promise on February 26 and are excited to again partner with them by serving meals to the families they host. Contact Lisa Jackson to see how your gifts can be put to use in this mission effort.
*Lent Celebrations! In addition to weekly worship, we have a number of programs that will help us focus on Lent. Wednesday Bible Study by Zoom, Thursday Morning Bible Study in person and online, and a Tuesday night prayer group by Zoom (with an encore on Sunday morning in person). Contact the church office for more information and to get the Zoom links for these groups.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
*2023 Vision Update: In January’s edition of the Spire, Rev. Acton wrote about church leaders (session, deacons, and staff) exploring an emerging vision for FPCoG, rooted in the idea of serving our “neighbors.” The Session continued this conversation at its February meeting and approved the following recommendations:
1. Appoint a group who can help develop a consensus among the congregation for a vision of FPCoG rooted in the image of being neighborly towards our local, regional, and global communities.
2. Complete a demographic study of our region to better know who our neighbors are and what their needs might be.
The next step will be identifying people to serve on a “Vision Team” described above and identifying resources to help us complete a demographic study in a helpful way. The Team will be composed of active members of the Session, the Deacons, as well as the congregation. If you might be interested in serving and helping clarify the call God is issuing to FPCoG for its ministry now and into the future, please contact Rev. Acton or Mike Koenig, the Clerk of Session.
*Share FPCoG with Each Other and Our Neighbors! FPCoG is an active church! To help others know this (and to stay up to date yourself), please consider following and asking others to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!
If you have pictures of church events, please share them as well! Send to email@example.com
Stephanie Taylor, our church admin, and our Instagram Volunteer Susie Knabe will take it from there!
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