Faith UMC of Orland Park eNote
"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
- Deuteronomy 30:19
Today is 9/11.
As a nation, this is a day when we remember the consequences of freedom - at its best and at its worst. At its worst, freedom was the decision made by some to hijack passenger planes and turn them into military missiles. At its best, freedom was the decision made by others to sacrifice themselves so that others might live. Freedom was the choice to fight back and crash land the plane in a Pennsylvania field. Freedom was the choice to run into Towers that everyone else was evacuating.
This is the gift and curse of freedom. At its best, freedom is the decision to love. At its worst, freedom is the decision to hate.
Let's be clear. Freedom is not merely the capacity to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. Freedom is not simply the ability to choose a favorite team, restaurant, or meal.
Theologically speaking, freedom is the decision to choose life or death, blessings or curse. In Deuteronomy, Moses challenged the people of Israel to make a choice. As they entered the Promised Land, would they honor God or reject God? Would they obey the commandments to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength? Would they obey God's commands to love their neighbor as themselves? or would they choose otherwise?
This is a choice God offers humanity throughout history - even today.
Friends, as we remember our modern "day of infamy," may we honor God and the memory of those who chose life (even at the cost of their own lives).
Let's live this day offering words of healing, acts of hope, and living a life of love.
Holy God, thank you for the gift of freedom. May we honor the example of those who chose to live in a way that honored you and cared for others. Help us to live and do likewise. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. - Pastor Caleb
Faith News & Notes
New Members - We welcomed 3 new members into our church family last Sunday. Welcome Carol, Emma, and Josh! Thanks to our New Member coordinators, Kathy Jones and Rutha Gruetzmacher. Singspiration - We raised over $1000 during our Summer Singspiration Concert! Thank you to everyone for your generosity. All proceeds go to My Joyful Heart, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of children in our surrounding community. (www.myjoyfulheart.org). Fall Small Groups - Our Fall Small Groups began this past week. They will meet for 5 more weeks. There's still time to join a small group. Sign up sheets are available in the lobby or under the bulletin board outside of Room 4. Contacts: Mary Kough (email@example.com) or Jill Damrow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sports Saturday - Our Athletic Ministry and Men of Faith host their Sports Saturday tomorrow morning (Sept 12 @ 9:30 AM). Location: church. Men are invited to come and spend a morning of fun and food with their children/grandchildren. We'll play indoor baseball and then enjoy a pancake breakfast. Stock Holders Dinner - Youth Mission Trip Stockholders Dinner is tomorrow (Saturday) night. Location: church. Dinner starts at 6 PM. Contact: Pastor Caitlyn (email@example.com) Kick Off Sunday - Join us this Sunday for Kick Off Sunday (Sept 13). This is the day we register for our church's 2015-16 programs. Note: we'll have a Backpack Blessing during both services. Everyone is invited to bring a bag to be blessed (backpack, briefcase, etc). Youth Group - Attention all jr/sr high students. Youth Group is starting up this Sunday (Sept 13)! Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM. Location: church. Contact: Pastor Caitlyn (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sunday School Helpers - Sunday School Helpers are needed for our 2015-16 Sunday School year. Helpers serve as assistants to Sunday School Teachers. Sign up to serve once a month or once a quarter. Contact: Kim Clifton (email@example.com) Fall Into Mission - We're kicking off our 2015 "Fall Into Mission" campaign this weekend. This campaign is an invitation for our church family to serve as the hands of Christ by engaging in mission and service in our surrounding community. Our Mission Committee will be presenting numerous service opportunities in the coming weeks. (See Mission Board in church lobby.) SWIFT Forum - All are invited to the Southwest Interfaith Team's next forum at St. Elizabeth Seton Church (Orland Hills). Topic: Racial Harmony in our Community. Date: Sunday, Sept. 20. Contact: Jim & JoEllen Simmons (708-301-6189) Faith Falcons - Try-outs and practice for the 2015-16 Faith Falcons begins Wednesday, Sept 23 @ 7 PM. Location: church. The Falcons are our 6th - 8th grade boys basketball team. Contact: Darryl Wertheim (Darryl.firstname.lastname@example.org)