My first Sunday in this new appointment to McFarland UMC (101 E Gordon Ave., Rossville, GA) was July 1. I started moving into the office on June 20, but then Charlene and I took a leisurely trip to/from Saratoga Springs, NY to visit our daughter, Monica. After a couple of weeks of introduction, I will be starting a new sermon series following the Revised Common Lectionary readings in Ephesians that I’m calling “No Longer Strangers.” The texts and rough topics for this series are:
July 15 Ephesians 1:3-14 All in the Family
July 22 Ephesians 2:11-22 Aliens No More
July 29 Ephesians 3:14-21 God’s Powerful Love
August 5 Ephesians 4:1-16 Bound Together
August 12 Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Making Peace
August 19 Ephesians 5:15-20 Overflow
Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus is an interesting, and controversial, text. However, it is an important text dealing with how we, as the church, relate to each other and to the community in which we serve. As we approach this first series together, I would invite you to read the entire letter to the Ephesians in one sitting. It won’t take you more than a half hour. Read to get a feeling of the gist of this letter. If you have a copy of The Message by Eugene Peterson, read that since it will provide you with an overview of the letter. Then set it aside for time. Next, take your study Bible and read the text for this week. Note what you find that resonates with you. Read it again. Set it aside for a bit, then read it a third time, paying attention to the things that call to you in the text. Once you do all of this preparation, you will be ready to engage the text in worship on Sunday morning.
As we enter into this 3rd week together, I look forward to engaging further with you. Visitation with the shut-ins begins this week and I look forward to meeting all of you, hearing your stories, and establishing a vision for McFarland for the years to come.
I’m so thankful to be your pastor. I am so thankful for the reception that you have given to me as we get to know each other. My prayer is that we will seek and conform to God’s will for this community and our place in it. Please pray for me as I pray for each one of you.