Your pastor, staff, and Board of Trustees have made the decision to cancel both worship services and Sunday school classes for Sunday, September 16.  We are still unsure of how Tropical Storm Florence will progress and we want to be sure all of our folks are safe and secure.

We will be posting information on our church website and social media, as well as sharing with WIS-TV, but please, please, please, call any church member or visitor you know who may not see this.

I encourage you to spend the 11:00 hour Sunday communing with God at home.  You may read the selected Gospel lesson (Matthew 20:1-16) and a few of my thoughts below.  Most importantly, let’s continue to pray for all those in the path of Florence.

God bless you today and always,
Pastor Julie Belman

Reading our scripture lesson for this week, a hard, but necessary question comes to mind:  Are we trying to make the world a better place, or are we trying to make our world a better place?  This text challenges us to look at the needs of others and prioritize those needs over our own desires.  This text boldly calls us to prayerfully discern what God is calling us to do and who God is calling us to be – as individuals and as a church.

In the parable, the owner of the vineyard says to his earliest laborer:  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?  Or are you envious because I am generous?’ (Matthew 20:15)

Generous.  We serve a generous God!  A God whose grace is abundant.  A God who is just and fair.  A God who sees the needs of everyone, even if they are not necessarily visible on the outside to the rest of us. A God who never walks away.  A God who calls the human race to rise up and help one another in their times of need.  Well, my friends, that time is now.

There are great needs among people in our own community, throughout the country and around the world.  The depths of these needs we may never understand;  but what we do understand is that God boldly challenges us to meet these needs in ways both big and small and to demonstrate generosity in our lives.

 I encourage you to think today about how God is calling you to give back and serve those in need right now.  A good place to start would be with the Methodist Disaster Relief teams here in South Carolina. As with most natural disasters, the relief efforts for Hurricane Florence will continue long after the storm is over.  Watch the umcsc.org website for details.

This text reminds us that – in the end – God will give us what we need.  The early morning laborers received the wage they agreed on;  the fact that the owner of the vineyard showed generosity with the other laborers did not mean he took anything away from the ones that started in the morning.

It is in reading this text that we remember we have nothing to lose when we show what God’s generosity can look like here on earth.  Thanks be to God!