This year, February is bringing one of my favorite things – the Winter Olympics. From downhill skiing to snowboard halfpipe, bobsledding to curling (yes, curling!), the Winter Olympics is not only my favorite of the Olympic Games but also a time to appreciate some sports that I so rarely get to enjoy.
And the Winter Olympics always reminds me of one of my favorite movies – Cool Runnings. This 1993 Disney film recounts the journey of a Jamaican bobsled team and the countless hijinks that follow them around as they enter the unknown world of winter sports. The movie’s title comes from what they finally decide to name their bobsled - cool runnings. When one of the characters is asked what that means, he says, “peace be the journey.” It’s a name that conveys the hope they need to carry them through the uncertain terrain through which they are barreling at dangerous speeds.
Peace be the journey – how can we know and name that reality in our world today? Like Winter Olympic athletes it may require taking those slippery curves of our lives with a healthy mix of daring and care. It takes some preparation and a supportive team. It takes a certain trust in what we are journeying toward and who we journey with so that even when we slip or crash, we can carry on.
I hope that as a church we continue to practice our rhythm of life with God and one another in a “cool runnings” way – a way that does not shy away from the impossible, that depends on the support of those around us, and that is guided forward by the peace of God so that our rhythm may inspire and transform all those around us.
I hope you join us in February, not only to talk about the Olympics but also to experience the renewal of God’s presence among us in worship and mission. This month we will also observe Ash Wednesday and begin the season of Lent (the 40 days of preparation for Easter). More information about our special events and activities for this church season can be found below.
Saturday, February 3
2:00 p.m. Augustus Agnew's First Birthday Party - One of our favorite congregants is about to celebrate a big birthday! If you plan to attend, please RSVP to his mom, Ashley Agnew, at email@example.com.
Sunday, February 4
4:30 p.m. Meet at Oak Lawn UMC to serve dinner to the homeless
Tuesday, February 6
7:00 p.m. Knitting Group
Thursday, February 8
6:00 p.m. Young Lives
Sunday, February 11
4:00 p.m. Reconciling Ministries Event (see below)
Wednesday, February 14
7:00 p.m. Ash Wednesday Service (see below)
Monday, February 19
1:00 p.m. Dove Notes (see below)
Tuesday, February 20
6:00 p.m. Young Lives Bible Study
Monday, February 26
1:00 p.m. Dove Notes (see below)
Call for gently used, sturdy clothing
Our friends at Oak Lawn UMC are looking for sturdy clothing - think t-shirts, jeans, tennis shoes - to be distributed to the mostly male homeless population they serve. If you would like to bring some clothing with you to church this Sunday, February 4, we will have a box set up outside the church office where you can drop it off. Our volunteers will take the clothing with them to OLUMC when they volunteer at the homeless meal ministry on Sunday evening. Thank you!
From the Choir Loft
This Sunday, February 4, we will sing Hymn 57, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” as our opening hymn. With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the background of this hymn, one of the best known of Charles Wesley’s texts.
It was written to celebrate the author’s May 21, 1738, conversion. It first appeared in eighteen stanzas as “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion” in Hymns and Sacred Poems, of 1740. The hymn first entered our hymnals in 1786, and with few exceptions, has been the first hymn in Wesleyan (Methodist) hymnals ever since.
The hymn as we know it begins with the original stanza six and concludes with the original stanza eighteen. Seventeen of the original eighteen stanzas can be found page 58 in our hymnal. Why not all eighteen? Because the text of the original seventeenth verse was deemed to be racially insensitive (it is!) so was omitted by the publishers.
The hymn tune that is commonly used with this hymn is entitled “Azmon”. Its origins are a bit sketchy. The tune is sometimes attributed to a German composer, Paul Glaser, and discovered by Lowell Mason on one of his European travels. Mason arranged it and was first used in his Modern Psalmist of 1839.
From Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal, edited by Carlton R. Young
On Sunday, February 11, you are invited to participate in a program presented by OutLast Youth, a group that serves homeless youth, especially those that are LGBTQ. The panel discussion will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary at Northaven UMC, 11211 Preston Rd., 75230. After the discussion, the Dallas-area Reconciling churches will provide a chili supper.
Lakewood has been asked to help with the cleanup afterward, so please bring your energy with you!
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, which marks the 40 days of preparation before Easter. Join us Wednesday, February 14 at 7:00 p.m. for our Ash Wednesday service. It will be a half hour service of reflection and meditation, in which you will have the opportunity to receive ashes on your forehead as a symbol of our repentance and humanity.
Lent is a time for fasting (giving up something to reinforce our commitment to God), taking on new spiritual practices (like prayer or volunteer service), and can also be a great time to dig deeper into the study of our faith. While it is great to do your own study, such as choosing a part of the Bible to read through, I also invite you to a new congregational study on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, starting the week of February 18 and running until the last week of March.
In this time leading up to our observance of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we will use this study to explore the significance of Jesus’s work on the cross – often called atonement. We will explore what atonement is, why it is necessary, some theories on how it all happened, and how we remember and celebrate it today. We hope you will join in!
Dove Notes is a card-writing ministry team that will occasionally host opportunities to create and send cards to people on the prayer list, college students, and for various special occasions, such as Easter. Anyone who would like to help is invited to come to card creation workdays - any level of skill is welcome and there will be a simple template to follow. The first two workdays are Monday, February 19 and Monday, February 26, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the church.
Happy Birthday to...
Augustus Agnew 2/1
Sally Hoover 2/3
Mary Ann Finley 2/9
Mary Ann Macsisak 2/14
Wes Larroca 2/25
Andrew Venable 2/26
This Month, We Pray for...
2018 Guatemala Medical Mission; Gail Baldwin; Lynn Bruce; Linda Castor; Wilma Elrod; Mary Ann Finley; Buford Finley; Jean Fowler; Erik Galvan; Adelaide Hart; Liljequist family; Harold Logan; Jan Logan; Rev. W.W. McNeill; Carolyn Miracle; Marie Miranda; Mike Miranda; Pat Norvell; Jorge Ortiz; Brandon Owen; Laneir Owens; Susan Price; Kathy Purvis; Elizabeth Robbins; Robin Robbins; Beth Saxton; Jeanne Scroppo; Linda Simmons; Alan Smith; Kelly Smith; Travis Smith; Danielle Swagger; Barbara Venable; Chris Venable; the Wade family; Betty Watson; Louise Williams