READ TIM'S EMAIL
December 4, 2013
Dear Centenary friends,
I offer you an early Christmas present. Here is a note I received:
I look forward to seeing you and the rest of our Centenary family. When I was a young man, I took a lot for granted. This will be my first Thanksgiving in 18 years that I will get to enjoy as a free man. I know that the Lord will bless me with many more. With all the struggles I am facing starting all over at my age, I still wake up every morning with a big smile on my face. This day, I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for accepting me. I am just an old sinner seeking God’s grace, forgiveness, and mercy. I pray you have a blessed day.
The letter was signed by a person connected to the Centenary community. Will you agree that this is a witness… and a sign of God at work? This person came seeking connection and community. He found it at this holy place called Centenary. His way of encountering the world changed because of what he found here. Wow.
That is who we are. It is called compassion. The root of the word is Latin, cum pasio, which means literally “with suffering.” Compassion is just BEING WITH suffering. Compassion offers no answers and it gives no reason. Compassion offers no rational explanation and it is not a counselor. Compassion is “being with suffering.” Period.
Compassion is a way of life. You can’t horde, save, or invest compassion. Compassion has no price tag. Compassion with a price tag isn’t compassion. You can’t just pull out compassion when you need it. It is a way of life, a way of encountering people. And, to tell you the truth the whole concept is ludicrous. Where is the logic in getting close enough to someone to feel their pain? We all have pain… why ask for more? Why choose to suffer with others? Why is “compassion” one of the primary words used to describe Jesus?
Compassion brings us to a different place and a higher awareness. Compassion takes us beyond a myopic understanding of ourselves and it saves us from selfishness. Compassion is the root of meaningful human relationships. It may be illogical and incongruous, but compassion is the essence of hope.
Advent… preparing… incarnation… God with us… Compassion… with suffering. My friend who wrote the note above was transformed from a man of despair to a man of hope… because of your compassion. Thank you. Thank you.
Centenary Choir Christmas Musical – Wednesday, December 4, 7 p.m. You do not want to miss this! A children’s choir from Stratford will also be a part of the musical. The star on the front of the church will be lit. Dinner is at 6 p.m. You are invited… but come to the 7 pm musical in the sanctuary, even if you can’t make it to dinner. See you there!
Keep an eye out for your letter concerning the Christmas offering at Centenary. We need your generous financial support! And…If you are in our email extended family, we sure could use your support during this Christmas Season. We are purchasing a transitional house to replace the one that was razed about a year ago. This is a great ministry for this community. If you would like to help with this ministry and our community breakfast, make your check out to Centenary Church, mark it clearly for the Christmas offering and mail it to Centenary UMC, 1290 College Street, Macon, GA 31201
Don and Debra Williams will be teaching an Advent Study at Centenary titled "A Season for Waiting, Listening, Rejoicing, and Giving". The study will be offered at 9:30 each Sunday in a classroom below the sanctuary. Hope you will join the study!
Advent Sermon Series: Finding God in the Dark – Making Peace With the Monsters Under Our Bed. Be sure to be part of worship each Sunday during Advent….. And don’t forget: Christmas Eve Service, December 24, 5 pm in the sanctuary.
Manna and Mercy,
Love God. Love Others. Love Yourself. Serve.