10-13-20 FUMC Update

DEVOTIONAL:  Does Faith matter in the Supreme Court Hearings?

Confirmation hearings began yesterday for Amy Coney Barrett who has been chosen by President Donald Trump to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Barrett has been described as a Constitutional ORIGINALIST which favors the interpretation of the Constitution through the original understanding of the authors. This is preferred by many on the right but feared by many on the left who predict that she will vote to modify or reverse some laws, including the Roe v. Wade, the decision that created a constitutional right to abortion, and Obamacare.  

Barrett is a Catholic and has been under scrutiny for being connected with People of Praise, an ecumenical charismatic Christian group. On their website, they say: “We admire the first Christians who were led by the Holy Spirit to form a community. Those early believers put their lives and their possessions in common, and ‘there were no needy persons among them.’ Jesus desires unity for all people. We live out this unity the best we can, in spite of the divisions within Christianity. We are Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and other denominational and nondenominational Christians. Despite our differences, we are bound together by our Christian baptism. Despite our differences, we worship together. While remaining faithful members of our own churches, we have found a way to live our daily lives together.”

How Barrett’s religious beliefs might influence her legal views became a focus for some Democrats during her 2017 confirmation hearings for her nomination to become a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Today, Republicans fear that imposing a “religious test” on Barrett’s fitness for the position will become controversial but let’s not forget … there are five current justices on the Supreme Court who are Catholic. And let’s not forget, Joe Biden, one of the nominees for PRESIDENT this year is Catholic too!

Early in her career, Judge Barrett often included God in articles and speeches, and in a 2006 address she urged graduating law students at Notre Dame to see their careers as part of “building the kingdom of God.” While not everyone agrees with some of her  opinions about marriage and abortion, she has said “It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions — whether they derive from faith or anywhere else — on the law.”

In our God, Church & Politics recent worship series I spoke quite a bit about how we must put GOD FIRST in the ballot box because no matter who is elected, if they don’t rely on direction from the Lord Himself, how could we trust any man or woman to make such important decisions!

A lifetime appointment to Supreme Court is a huge responsibility. There have only been 113 who have served an average of 16 years. The Supreme Court website says: “As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.” We need laws in our country and how those laws are interpreted is what the Supreme Court does, and faith DOES matter!

What does this mean to us as Christians? At the beginning of Deuteronomy 6, we learn that decrees and commandments are given for our benefit, to structure our lives in life-giving ways. A game of football would be chaotic without umpires, defined lines on the field, and rules. Our lives, too, would become chaotic without the ordering of God’s laws. Commandments are meant to be helpful to us, not oppressive.

Moses spoke of a commandment that began with reviewing God’s goodness, urging  people to behave like God’s chosen people, keeping all of His commandments so that their “days may be long.” If the people DO observe the commandments diligently, it will “go well” with them, and they will multiply greatly. Next in the text comes the commandment to “love the LORD your God” (Dt. 6: 5) which introduced here for the first time. This bold new command went on to become central to both Judaism and Christianity, one that Jesus later referenced in His Great Commandment!

As you think about whether a Supreme Court justice should be influenced by his or her faith, does it matter to you what the faith of that justice is? Why or why not? How would you feel about a new justice being a committed Jew, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or a Hindu or Muslim, as opposed to a Catholic? How would you feel about a Justice being a progressive Christian while you are a conservative Christian — or vice versa?  Just remember – whatever happens, GOD IS WORKING FOR GOOD  (You can watch the devotional on Facebook or listen to it on the website also.)

SHORT NOTICE BUT IMPORTANT ~ As you may know, the Library Memorial Fund for KATIE PARK raised over $10,000 Deonna Bishopp, library Director, just told me that the City Council will vote on this tonight! The details are on Facebook also, please share on your page so we spread the word. You can call in tonight or email the City!

THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU! It will be three years on November 1 that I have served you as the Pastor of this incredible Church and community and I cannot begin to tell you how richly and deeply blessed I am that God sent me here! I wake up every morning with GRATITUDE at the droplets of grace God pours out all around me! I was surprised and so wonderfully humbled on Sunday to receive your recognition for Pastor Appreciation Sunday! Wow, what a blessing you are! I will enjoy sitting on the outside patio overlooking the beautiful vineyards of Los Pino having my FAVORITE hamburger, a brie burger with caramelized onions, and today and tomorrow are PRIME days on Amazon so the gift card is perfect timing! I cannot begin to thank you for thinking of me!

IF GOD CAN TALK ABOUT BATHROOMS, SO CAN WE! I must admit, talking about a $13,000 mini-capital campaign to build a bathroom during a pandemic was a bit daunting, but one again the Holy Spirit has OVERWHELMED me with JOY! During this time, the church has been faced with all kinds of challenges, the most important of which is doing no harm. But when someone came to me with a $5,000 check toward constructing a much needed accessible bathroom, I KNEW God would provide! If you missed the service yesterday, you can watch it on FACEBOOK, and I thank those of you who have told me how important it is to have a facility that families can take their children to or change their baby’s diaper in, a facility where people with wheelchairs or walkers can get to easily without traveling past Asbury, through the courtyard and over to Wesley Hall to go to the bathroom! Sacrificial giving, in addition to general fund giving, has an extra feeling of JOY and I hope you feel that JOY as I do! If you want to send a check, mark BATHROOM in the memo, or, you can give online on our website and when you click any of the giving links, you will see a Bathroom account. Just go HERE. Many thanks!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN ARE MAKING COOKING EASY and SHOPPING EVEN EASIER! Attached is a great letter from Janat Erwin explaining why UMW chooses RADA as their fundraising partner for MISSIONS. With RADA, you’re not only get great products at reasonable prices, but you’re also benefiting others! Catalogs will be in church on Sunday or in the red bin by our office door, but you can browse a catalog, shop and ship online HERE! If you don’t want to order online you can email Janat your order and she’ll take care of you.

THANK YOU COFFEE AND CONVERSATION SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS! Today they delivered 60 SNACK PACKS to all the adults, teachers, custodians, aides, admins, etc. at the elementary school! How GREAT to see our church serving the community! Maybe some other classes would like to help us finish the rest of the schools!!??

“SEE” YOU SUNDAY EVERYONE ~ We’ll be looking at how SEEING God’s droplets of grace can be life-changing!! Isaiah 6

Grace and peace,

Pastor Debbie