Last night #JustRead, our Tuesday evening bible study, was meeting via zoom, and intruders showed up.
We were reading along in Matthew 21:23-27. Jesus had told the disciples they had the power to move mountains. We talked about how much we were praying to end the pandemic. In our scripture, the leaders were just about to ask Jesus “by what authority are you doing these things and who gave you this authority?” when we heard strange voices and then several people showed up. They took over the screen and began drawing the sort of images you might see on the walls of public restrooms. We quickly shut down the meeting. Some of us returned later. Two more people showed up after that, and by that time we had learned how to remove them quickly from the meeting.
We so much want to see each other and do something normal. And reading scripture together is good for heart and soul. And in came intruders. I think we were pretty shocked. Afterward, I spent some time stomping around. Luckily a friend called me later and talked away my bad mood.
“By what authority are you doing these things?” That’s what the leaders asked Jesus. Who authors our lives?
When we hurt others, when we are rude or offensive, when we judge others, when we barge into a meeting intent on shocking people, by what authority are we acting? By what authority are we doing these things?
I wish the persons who intruded were led by a different authority. They are clever enough to hack a meeting. I wish they used their abilities to build up, rather than tear down. I am sorry that they are fueled by something other than love.
After the meeting, I got phone calls, emails, and texts from people who had attended had attended the bible study. You can’t keep a good Methodist down.
When we seek justice, when we care for others, when we commit to making our communities better places, when we stay home, or mask up, by what authority do we do these things?
When we pray for the intruders, we ask God to fill their hearts and guide them in a different direction, when we refuse to hate them, by what authority do we do these things?
So, crud. It was sad and hurtful and for a moment, weirdly scary. But this is exactly what Jesus has given us the authority to do: love others.
#JustRead is on for next Tuesday at 4:30. Email me if you want to take part. We will have a NEW password, and a waiting room, where guests will be invited in. And hopefully, they won’t show up. And if they do, we will remove them and then pray over them big time. We can move mountains. Jesus said so.
This day, the grace that has created us and drawn us together, is making its way into their lives too.
Stay in and stay well. Take care of yourself. By your faithfulness, you are saving lives.
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines Iowa 50265
Like us on Facebook or visit us at WDMUMC.org.
Live streaming every Sunday at 9:30! And serving God all week long.
The News from WDMUMC
Pastor Cindy and Pastor Trevor will be keeping zoom office hours if you would like to chat. Pastor Cindy will be available on Thursdays from 8-10 and Pastor Trevor will be available on Tuesdays from 12-2. Reply to this email or call if you would like the zoom link. And Pastor Cindy and Pastor Trevor can also chat via phone!
Reading Buddies are STILL Buddies
Our volunteer reading buddies have not been able to meet with their students since the schools closed. This week they will be writing letters to their buddies and Dr. Jones, the principal at Hillside Elementary will get the letters to the students. Staying connected!
Every Body Eats Summer Program continues to make plans
It looks like the need for food for children this summer will be bigger than ever. We are making plans to address the need. We will keep you posted!
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