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What do you see?



September 2, 2020

Dear Church Family,

I’ve been thinking lately about the pictures that you look at - and if you look at it one way, you see a very young woman - head up and flowing hair. You look the other way, and it appears it is a picture of an elderly woman, bent over, head down and hair up on her head. For some, sometimes you really have to concentrate to see one or the other and for others it’s easier to see both. But if you see only the one you want to see, well, that’s what you see, period. I think about that as I think about Jesus life, living and teaching. There were people that saw Jesus only breaking the laws, and yes he was breaking the laws of the temple when he turned the tables over, yes he was breaking the laws of society when he spoke to the woman at the well, let the children come to him, and touched a leper. He broke the laws of a church tied to the government when he healed on a Sabbath or paraded in the back gate of the city of Jerusalem on a donkey or colt and allowed crowds to gather around him. He also, healed the blind, showed the children, the least of the day they were accepted and loved, the lowest, the woman at the well, she was important, the hurting that the sabbath didn’t matter if they couldn’t be made well and whole. There are two images of Jesus in just about every story we hear and see. Some wanted Jesus killed because they saw a lawless man destroying a society that judged and favored and others saw a man who put love and grace of others before all else, even his own life. Jesus lived a life showing every life mattered, and he lived a life standing up for those that the society, government and church all disenfranchised, not the powerful. He lived a life that scared the wealthy and in control, so much so they had him killed. Yes, here is a picture of man that could be seen as two ways and without understanding fully who he was, what he came to do, and above all who His allegiance was to, he was only seen as a stumbling block to power. How dare he cater to those the government, society and church had to step on to achieve their superiority! Jesus was a man of two pictures in one. The picture of the young woman and the old woman was first published in a magazine in 1915 to show “ambiguous illusions.” Many times in life we try to see what we want to see, we seek out things that will prove just our point without considering other options. The Jesus haters, focused on one thing, Jesus was a lawless man, destroying a society they had built. The others who could see Jesus as a Savior, saw the lawlessness too, however I believe they saw it as a necessary means to make God’s way plain for all people, that all were of sacred worth. The next time you are looking at a situation, maybe try looking at it from many different angles, from listening, truly deep understanding and listening, not to be cemented in your point of view, but maybe to listen and learn others points of view too. Yesterday a dear friend posted something on social media that was full of false statements, attributed to someone who didn’t make the statements and was riddled with accusations some true, but with deep reason and meaning that I believe changes the view and requires a different Christian response. However, with thought of “finally, someone agrees with my way of thinking,” it was posted. Of course, others in the same thought process jumped on the band wagon immediately. My heart sunk, there’s much more to the story. Don’t stop because you find something that supports what you think it should be or makes it easier to stand by your personal feelings or convictions. Remember Jesus, said taking up the cross wouldn’t be easy. I don’t believe that was because people wouldn’t agree with you, I believe that is because understanding, fully understanding isn’t easy, until you know all there is to know about the one you disagree with. The ones that killed Jesus only knew the way he was living was affecting them, they didn’t want or need to know the stories of the ones he healed, the ones that he set free or the ones he touched, they were just concerned about how it affected their belief and thinking. My prayer is that we will be more concerned about doing the hard work of understanding the stories of others than we will about preserving our own vision, our own way of thinking our own mindset. Everyone will see the picture differently; may we be willing to see in a deeper way? May it be so. Amen. Pastor Tim

In our daily prayers…

The past ten days have been a long road with many events, cancer tests for two different Saint Paul’s families, the loss of Harold Keiser, Jr., Nancy Haven facing serious surgery and still recovering, Louise Litzy under hospital medical care for a previous procedure and in the greater community, two fatalities in a three car collision involving alcohol early Sunday morning, claiming the life of a Milton resident and 2020 graduate of Midd-West High School, and then on Sunday evening another horrific accident involving multiple teenagers, both accidents placing several local youths in area hospitals. Some ask where is the good news in all of this, why so much despair? And we cry out, Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer. We also give thanks, we give thanks for all those working hard to surround the families of those whose lives are being impacted by these tragedies, we give thanks for the care givers and the chaplains, we give thanks for the joys in the community as well, with weddings and birthdays and anniversary celebrations. Oh there are many pictures to see, may we continue to focus our prayers and hope and help where it may be needed. Whether in our community or the broader community of our nation and world, may we truly pray…Lord, hear our prayer.

Announcements, announcements, announcements…

A New Opportunity: Sometimes, it’s nice to receive a meal or a plate of cookies or a small pie, something just to say you are being thought of, from your faith family. Merle Kay Englehart and Geri Neese are heading up a team to prepare meals and plan for delivery of food to individuals just to say your church is thinking about you. Many times, it will be something small, yet heart felt.

Here’s how it works: if you know of someone in need or someone who you think may really appreciate a little boost like this, reach out to the church office. If you would like to volunteer, contact Merle Kay or Geri to learn more or be a food provider, maybe it’s just a plate of cookies, an individual desert, bread, a casserole, it doesn’t have to be a full meal, just something to say “we are thinking about you.” Another way to stay connected and #bethechurch.

Want to help? Contact Geri or Merle Kay and let them know if you are willing to help provide items for others as well. They can offer suggestions or share with you what we may need. There’s a place for everyone to be connected.

Coming in September! A new family style Sunday School / Devotion, the Adult Sunday School hour returns, and mission opportunities to help our neighbors. If you didn’t catch it during Sunday morning’s children’s moments, you will see it soon. Faithful Families devotion and activities will be coming to all families with kids toddler to high school age soon!

Coming in October! A very special celebration for our 120th Anniversary! We will welcome Rev. Dr. Carrie Call who will be bringing the message to Saint Paul’s on October 4 and, of course, have some great special music as we explore ways for everyone to participate in this wonderful celebration! Watch for announcements of how you can help be a part of this great day!

Monday Morning Preacher, 10:30 a.m. (TUESDAY this coming week). We gather via Zoom and all are welcome to this Monday morning Bible Study. Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433

Midweek Musings and Theology, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Next Wednesday we will wrap up our Summer read: Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism” when we will cover chapters 5 & 6. We will gather next Wednesday, September 9 at 6 p.m. for our final gathering for this book. Watch for a new study book to be announced on Sunday!

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433

What’s your sign? Saint Paul’s Yard Signs are here! Yard signs are available at the church during office hours. Help us spread the word “Welcome home to…Saint Paul’s…Welcoming Saints and Sinners since 1900” (and they include our web address).

Please note: Following approved Church guidelines, established by the Consistory, we ask that if you are coming to the church, you sign-in and wear a mask, your temperature will also be taken.

Ways to connect to worship:

Join us LIVE on Facebook or on YouTube for worship every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We are now broadcasting live to both platforms Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Aren't sure how to subscribe and get connected on YouTube? Contact the church office for details or just click on the button via our website at www.spuccwm.org. See step by step instructions below.

Not been on YouTube or not a subscriber? While you don’t have to subscribe to watch via YouTube, you can if you’d like. The more subscribers the church has the better opportunity we have to reach out.

Here’s what to do:

1. Go to the church website www.spuccwm.org.

2. Click on the YouTube “Come join us live.”

3. If you are watching us via YouTube and you are willing or want to subscribe to our “channel” click on the “Subscribe” button below the video.

4. If you have questions, email: admin@spuccwm.org and Geri will get the question to the right person to help.

For questions or suggestions as to how we can better serve you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are continually trying to improve our online offerings and appreciate, very much your support and help.

If you are on YouTube, hit the like button, and tap the bell to be sure you are reminded when we go live.

#cu@church.

May grace, hope, peace and love abound.

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Saint Paul's United Church of Christ | 433 High Street, West Milton, PA 17886
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