Mark's Memos

What About Fairness

March 24, 2019

In Forrest Carter's novel, Watch For Me On The Mountain, there is a dramatic scene where the Apache Warrior, Geronimo, has allowed himself to be captured in order to lead his people from their present location of a desert concentration camp to their homeland so they can live out their days in peace. 

 

As they make their move, the Army Bluecoats are in hot pursuit. Geronimo asks for volunteers to help delay the Bluecoats in order for the women, children and the wounded to get safely ahead on the trail.  A man, named Boto, and his wife. Watashe, volunteer realizing it might cost them their lives. One of the Indians was heard to say to another, "He has given his life - to give many steps to the women, children, and wounded." 

 

What a legacy we could leave to our sinful, selfish world, if it could be said of us and the church, "They give their lives and resources -to give many steps to those in need."

Lent is an excellent time to consider what sacrifices we need to make in order to pull our lives into alignment with Christ’s calling.  Sometimes our culture sees sacrifice as something very unfair.  However, for Christians we affirm that life is often unfair, but sometimes when caught in that unfairness we walk closest with Christ.  I invite you to join with me this Sunday as we explore the question of faith, ‘What About Fairness?”

 

See you in church on Sunday!

 

Grace & Peace,

Mark

March 10, 2019

The story is told that on the outskirts of a certain small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence.  One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.  “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle.  As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery.  He slowed down to investigate.  Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.”

He just knew what it was.  He jumped back on his bike and rode off.  Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.  Come here quick,” said the boy.  “You won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.”

The man said, “Beat it, kid. Can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk?”  When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.”

The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth. Let’s see if we can see the Lord.”

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything.  The old man and the boy gripped the wrought-iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.  At last they heard, “One for you, one for me.  That’s all.  Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.”

They say the old man made it back to town a full five minutes ahead of the kid on the bike.

This Sunday I will begin the Lenten series, Questions of Faith, by exploring the question “What About Satan?”  Hopefully, it will not send anyone on a wild dash of fear out of church on Sunday.  Come see what happens!

See you in church Sunday!

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Looking for a Sign from God

March 3, 2019

Burt Visotzky, professor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, shared a delightful on a Bill Moyers television special several years ago. Visotzky says he was with a friend, driving between New York and New Jersey. His friend was really depressed, and he was smoking away in the car, covered with ashes. He said, “I’m so depressed. Here I am, like Job, sitting here, feeling lousy and beaten, and covered in ashes. You know, if only I could have a sign from God.”

Visotzky says he was just about to turn to friend and say, “Martin, it’s just not gonna happen quite that way,” when an enormous black Cadillac whizzed by them on the New Jersey Turnpike, and they both saw the same thing. His friend Martin pulled over to the side of the road and turned to Visotzky.

“Did you see those license plates?”, he asked.

“Yes,” Visotzky answered. The license plate, a New Jersey plate, had plainly etched on it the letters, “G‑O‑D.”  Vosotzky says, “If I hadn’t seen it and he had told him he had, I would have said, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ But we both clearly saw it. Neither of us, of course, had the courage to call the License Bureau and ask whether they would give a vanity plate like that. We didn’t want to find out.”

This is from a book by Bill Moyers titled Genesis: A Living Conversation.  It raise an interesting point about where God shows up in our lives and how that impacts us as disciples.  The scripture we are focusing on is when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, encountered God, and how his face radiated for all to see. 

I hope you will join me in worship this Sunday as explore what happens when God shows up in our lives.  I hope you will be in prayer with me that as we show up in worship God might be there with us.

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Rev. Mark Jardine is the Senior Pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Born and raised in Bartlesville, he is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and hold his Master in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
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