Archive for Prayer

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

This Sunday marks the 500th anniversary of Reformation Sunday, remembering Martin Luther’s break with the Catholic Church of his day, and his posting of the “95 Theses” on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Many Protestant churches have continued to branch off from Luther’s first branch, and will remember that historic event in worship this weekend.
All are invited to worship with us at Hope United Methodist Church on Main St in Belchertown at 10 am, as we share in a Luther Hymn Festival: “Through the Christian Year with Martin Luther.” Many hymns written by Martin Luther will be sung by soloists, choir, and congregation. Luther himself said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world!”
As we observe Reformation Sunday in a world torn and divided, it is with the prayer that we may continue to move towards unity and community, both in the church and in the world.
Join us this Sunday, or any Sunday at 10 am, at Hope United Methodist Church.
“Guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, our mission is to know, experience, and share God’s love as shown to us in Jesus Christ.”

Holy Week Schedule

 

April 9th:  Palm Sunday

9 AM Sunday School

10 AM Worship; Come and receive the palms that commemorate Christ’s triumphant entry to Jerusalem.

April 13th: Holy Thursday

6 PM Holy Thursday service with a simple meal of bread and soup and Holy Communion

8 PM Prayer Vigil begins

April 14th: Good Friday         

3 PM Prayer Vigil ends with the tolling of the bell in remembrance of Christ’s death

7 PM Good Friday; The Passion Story

April 16th: Easter Sunday

6 AM Ecumenical Sunrise Service at the Quabbin Reservoir Tower

9 AM Sunday School

10 AM Grand Easter Celebration; Be inspired and uplifted by our spirit filled choir and our liturgical Rainbow Dancers. Refresh, restore, and renew your relationship with the one who called you beloved.

Reflection for the fourth week of Lent

Dearest Hope,

Yesterday’s powerful service touched so many of us–partly because so many of us have been touched by abuse, most as children. I could feel the love, compassion and solidarity in the sanctuary as Rick shared his heart and his life with us. His example of moving into forgiveness with his father was truly inspiring; where does it leave you as you think about those in your life who have hurt you?

We are deep into Lent now and Easter beckons. It’s time to look at the unforgiveness we hold against those who have deeply hurt, wounded or wronged us. Perhaps it’s abuse from your past or in the past of someone you love. Perhaps it’s a betrayal or even a death. This week, I invite you to face the big, dark, hard edges of that unforgiveness with the shining light of Christ.

If we want to forgive someone who hurt us very badly, how do we begin?

Psalm 118:5 “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.”

We absolutely most have God’s help in this endeavor. With God, it really is possible to forgive past hurts, even very big ones. Ask for God’s help. Say to God, “I really want to forgive this person, but I can’t. I don’t know how. It hurts too much. Help me. Show me how to forgive.” Listen for the promptings of the Spirit.

 

Then allow yourself to feel the loss, the grief, the hurt and the anger–not with the person, but by yourself! You can talk to a trusted friend or therapist or spiritual mentor, or you could write and write about it, or walk in the woods and think about it; however you can feel it and release it in a safe place. Pour out your bitterness, resentment and anger to God who will never tire of hearing you! Even if you tire of hearing yourself 😊

Then consider that forgiveness is an act of freeing ourselves from the pain of the past. You don’t forgive to free someone else. Do it for yourself. Unforgiveness keeps the past alive inside of us; we all know that the past is over. Whatever horrible events we endured, even though we may FEEL them still, we are actually in the present moment. Forgiveness frees us to live in the now and move into the life God has for us.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

 

Last, have patience. It can take many years, many practices (and sometimes it doesn’t!), and much reflection. With tenderness and compassion, approach this project as if you were the most beloved child of the Creator of Life–because you are.

many blessings,
Pastor Sam

First week of Lent – Is forgiveness a one time event?

Hi Hope!

How did it go thinking about forgiveness last week?

I’ve been asking around who has successful stories of forgiveness and it seems like we all have forgiveness stories but not all have been successful! What does the Bible say about this? Is forgiveness a one time event? Do we forgive someone once and move on? For most of us, forgiveness is a process and a practice. It’s a muscle and we want to build up its strength. It may take a long time, it may take a few different forms, and it may not go exactly like we expected.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 1:21-22

We might be relieved to think that forgiveness is an on-going experience. All the time we need it and all the time we are asked to offer it.

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecc. 7:20

For this week’s practice, try letting go of small flares of anger, resentment or frustration as quickly as you possibly can. I’m thinking of things like being cut off in traffic, having a friend or spouse say something small but hurtful, or reading an upsetting piece of news that makes you mad at someone or something. How quickly can you get back to a peaceful place? Say a little prayer like, “God, I’m angry; thank you for helping me forgive quickly.”

 For I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2

Set it as a goal, with these little annoyances, to see the “other” as the Christ. You don’t need to do it with the big stuff yet! Try it just with the small things and see how it feels and where it leaves you.

Let me know how it goes!

Many blessings,

Pastor Sam

All Saints Day

 

Candles all lit for All Saints Day, 2016

Candles all lit for All Saints Day, 2016 – Photo by Dawn Vitale

Sunday’s November 6th Service included honoring all those we have known and loved that have gone to be with God.  This in our church is called ‘All Saints Day’.

During the service Rev. Sam Wilde invited anyone who would like to light a candle in remembrance of someone to come up.  There was a long line; people waited patiently to have their moment to remember a loved one.  In the end, as the last person lit a candle we all noticed that there were exactly enough!

Praise God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worship October 2, 2016

Enjoy our worship service.  We apologize that the prayer requests may not be able to be heard as we were having some microphone issues.