The Prodigal Son is a story that many of us know well. A young son takes his inheritance from his father. He leaves home and squanders the inheritance on “wild living.” A famine strikes and the son has no money. He is living among the pigs when he decides to return home, ask for forgiveness and work as his father’s hired hand. The story takes a bit of a twist when, instead of the father shaming his son and casting him out, he welcomes him home. The father sees his son from a distance and, as if awaiting his return, runs to greet him. He throws his arms around his son. A feast is thrown in the young son’s honor.
When the elder brother asks his father why the younger son deserved a party, the father replies, “This brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” What a powerful story Jesus shares with us about love, grace, forgiveness and coming home.
This Sunday we have a chance to hear this Scripture through the eyes of our graduating seniors, as they share about their experiences, struggles and hopes. We will also hear from the Children’s Choir, the Jubilate and Canticle Choirs, the Trinity Handbell Choir, and other special music from our youth.
Things might look a little different in worship this Sunday. The youth have worked hard planning this service and are excited to worship together. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis
One of the great blessings I count at San Dieguito UMC are the numerous clergy colleagues connected to our church family. There have been many times throughout the last year that one or more of these esteemed colleagues has been present in the pulpit, taught children at VBS, facilitated a small group, arranged a retreat, led worship at Vespers, assisted in a baptism, etc… More importantly, I count these dear colleagues as friends and mentors in the journey of life and ministry.
This Sunday one of those friends, Rev. Dr. Faith J. Conklin, will be present with me in worship and she will share the message. In our Annual Conference Faith was the first woman ordained an elder, first woman pastor-in-charge, first woman district superintendent, and the first woman to serve as senior pastor of a multiple-staff church. She is also the first pastor-in-residence at Claremont School of Theology.
It is a great honor to call her my friend! I hope you will join us as she shares the message on this Second Sunday of Easter. Faith will be guiding us through John 20:19-29. This is the passage in which Jesus comes after the resurrection to bring the worried disciples (his friends) peace and proclaims to these friends, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19).
Have a blessed weekend and see you at 8 AM (in the Chapel) or 9 AM and 10:30 AM (in the Sanctuary). Also, thank you for sharing wonderful hospitality to the many visitors last weekend. It was so good to hear people comment, “This is such a friendly church!”
Grace and Peace, John
Dear SDUMC family,
This week I had the great joy in the midst of “trying to get everything done” to hear the sound of laughter outside my door. As I looked out, I saw the children in our preschool searching for their treasures in the annual egg hunt. I jokingly asked, “Can I have one?” There wasn’t a great rush to bring me an egg but one child after a moment said, “I’ll share!” Of course, I wasn’t going to take the treasured egg, but my heart was warmed as a three-year-old was going to share this treat.
My question in the midst of this Holy Week is what can I share? I hope you’ll join me in pondering what it is that you can share. My prayer is that in some way we each can reach out and share the great invitation of Hope, Grace, Peace and Love by sharing an invitation to join us in worship on Sunday. People are always waiting for a personal invitation, and we have a great opportunity in the Joy-filled day of Easter!
At our Easter services last year, we had many guests come to hear the Good News of Easter because YOU invited them!
This year, we’ll be sharing a message from Matthew 28, and it will be a message of Hope that shows how God, through Easter, gives us a chance to be people who live with Hope in a world where fear and anxiety seem to swirl around us.
Who of your relatives, neighbors, and co-workers do you know needs a little or a lot of Joy in their life? People are more likely to be open to your invitation at Easter than at any other time of year. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to invite them to Sun Rise Communion at 6:30 AM (at the Encinitas Community Park) and Easter Worship at 9 AM and 10:45 AM in the Sanctuary!
Here’s how we can share a little more this Easter:
- In your prayer time ask God to show you who to invite.
- Please set an example and fill out the pew pad and pass them down – so guests will see you do it and feel comfortable doing it too. When you see someone who needs help around the campus ask what you can do. If you are on social media share our Facebook invitation on your page to invite friends in a new way.
- Pray that hearts around the world will find the Peace that passes understanding.
- If you are able, please join me in parking at the business park so guests will be able to find a spot as they arrive. Greet everyone around you as there will be a lot of first-time guests. Invite them to join us for the great butterfly release following each service.
I am very excited about sharing Easter Sunday with you all! The music that has been planned is incredible! Thanks for your prayers. It’s going to be a heart-stirring Friday Evening and Joy-filled Sunday Morning! I am so grateful to be a pastor at SDUMC where All Are Welcome! Let’s share our SDUMC hospitality and God’s grace with the community this Sunday!
Grace, Peace, and Holy Week Blessings,
PS. Tonight we will also share in a powerful Good Friday Service at 7 PM, and I pray that you will find the time to join us to remember all that Christ gave for each of us and our world. Whether you are in the Sanctuary or behind your desk…take some time to reflect, pray, worship and give thanks.
Dear SDUMC Family,
I look forward to being with you on Sunday as we again come to the exciting day of Palm Sunday. Children will lead us as they wave their palms, our choirs will fill the sanctuary with joy, and we will each have moments where we repeat the ancient words of “Hosanna!” We will remember the joyful entry of Jesus and the excitement of the people waving their palms. It was a time for the people of long ago and still for all of us to experience that Jesus is near, when all seems well, when joy is felt all around. Shouting “Hosanna” began to spread along the road; their expectations were high, they were sure Jesus knew exactly what they wanted.
As we think about that day not much has changed many years later. I’m sure that they thought that the oppression of the Romans would soon be overthrown, if only Jesus would take over, and bring restoration the way they saw it then all would be well.
After being on this journey through Lent, we too have experienced Jesus. Maybe we’ve changed a little, maybe devotional study has become part of our daily ritual, and maybe it feels like all will be well. It’s been a journey, and now Easter is just a few days away!
Although we share in the scriptures year after year the journey through this next week still seems to surprise us. I hope we take the time to shout “Hosanna!” on Sunday but also remember the journey ahead…
Walter Brueggemann shares a glimpse of the journey ahead, “Lent is a time for fresh decision-making about reliance upon the God of the gospel. Such decision-making in Lent is commonly called “repentance.” It’s a time to reflect on the way in which God gives new life that is welcome when we recognize how our old way of life mostly leaves us weary and unsatisfied.”
I look forward to joining you on this journey at 8, 9 or 10:30 on Sunday morning and in the week to come.
Grace, Peace and Lenten Blessings,
As a teenager, I was one of those overactive church kids. (Surprise, surprise…) Youth group, youth retreats, camp, service projects, helping in the kindergarten Sunday School, choirs… you name it, I was in it.
Back then (hey, 20 years counts as “back then”…), the model for youth programming resembled the old, characteristically Methodist model for any ministry: led and organized by committee. In all my enthusiasm, I was, of course, on the Council on Youth Ministries (COYM), too.
Our COYM was made up only of youth, with our Youth Director and a counselor or two for guidance and help, and we were charged with dreaming up the mission trips, retreats, and even some program themes of study for our youth group. I remember there being great responsibility entrusted to us to not only create a vision for our peers, but also to plan and execute that vision. From those meetings in the temporary-building-in-the-parking-lot-designated-youth-room, I remember vividly our Youth Director saying, “Dream big, guys. Whatever you envision, we can make happen.”
I’m so grateful that this wisdom was planted in me at such a young age, and especially that it was bound to and rooted in my understanding of the nature of God. The point in this encouragement was not that we had endless resources of money, time, or volunteers, or that the counselors didn’t care much about what we did, but that God is sometimes moving in wild and unimaginable ways, and it’s important not to restrict our own vision when discerning the presence and will of God.
This week, as we gather again around the Word and Table, we will hear a pretty unbelievable story of life brought from death—of limited human understanding and expectations broken open by divine power and will. And, we will share in a pretty unbelievable ritual in which life, and grace, and the real presence of God are promised to us in the most ordinary elements of bread and juice.
It can be hard for us, now as responsible, world-worn and-weary adults, to dream big—to open our imaginations to unlimited possibilities. But I pray that this week, at least for this one hour together, we might suspend our disbelief that all things are possible with God, and allow the miracle of God’s handiwork to enliven, inspire, and uplift us.
See you Sunday,