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Knock, Knock

They used to be called Drum and Bugle Corps.

Now they have pageantry and drama on the field with the color guard gorgeously expanded, drummers and horn players dancing as much as they march, and enhanced audio throughout.

With all that added, the name has been shorted to Drum Corps.

If you’re uncertain what that means, jump over to

http://www.dci.com

and come on back.

About three weeks ago, Patty and LJ4 and I went to a Drum Corps Competition near Cincinnati. Three days ago, Patty and I went to one in Belleville.

We were blown away both times.

“When Hell Freezes Over” is the title of the show The Colts from Dubuque, IA are presenting this summer. (http://colts.org/2019_278.html)

Opening with an unmistakable AC/DC excerpt, after much well done representative writhing, pain, and chaos, a massive multi-shaded blue moves in and takes over the field. Pretty. Very pretty.

While I was comparing it somewhere in the back of my mind to something from the blockbluster movie Frozen, here came a melody from what I recall to be the low brass.

I was in tears.

Seriously in tears.

With everything else silenced and immobilized, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” filled the football stadium.

In case you don’t know that song —

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

— Hell. Chilled out.

Come on home.

Wanna know more? Start with Revelation 3:7,8 and Colossians 4:3 and 1st Corinthians 16:8-10.

And, surprisingly, you’ll find that the door swings open when you knock on it.

 

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What Book Would You Name?

Be transformed

by the renewing

of your mind.

 — Romans 12:2

After all that time we’ve just spent with Bishop Beard’s list of six books that shape our church, what’s one book that you might add?

Or what’s one that has shaped you and your faith and understanding?

Can’t name just one? Then please share as many as you’d like.

The rest of us will thank you for pointing us to some good reading.

Be changed

from the inside out.

— Romans 12:2

 

AND…Book Number Six!

Grinning, he named a sixth book that has shaped our churches.

Bishop Frank Beard had just listed five books that have shaped our church. Those were The Bible, The United Methodist Hymnal, The United Methodist Book of Worship, The Book of Resolutions, and The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

[PLEASE NOTE: If you missed the details of our previous 5 books and their significance, feel free to scoot to last week’s blogs and back. You’ll be glad you did.]

Book Number Six? The church cookbook.

And he’s right.

Just about every church seems to have one.

And yeah, for sure they have sure “shaped” us, in many ways.

Sometimes a youth group made and sold them as fund raisers. I know of a United Methodist Men’s group that published one. Usually, it’s the product of The United Methodist Women’s organization.

Filled with favorite recipes, these cookbooks become local church treasures.

Rather than saying, “Hey, this is delicious! Can I get your recipe?” we can simply ask for the name of the dish, knowing it’s in the church cookbook.

Flipping through one from your own church, you see the names of saints who have gone on before the rest of us. Our memories of them can be almost as good as their published recipes for those special treats they brought to church dinners.

Somewhere in the archives and artifacts of a church cookbook is a secret recipe for making The Perfect Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. I know because when he was quite young, son LJ4 and I tirelessly researched it, wrote it, submitted it. And it was included.

Has your church done a cookbook recently? If not, please consider this a nudge in that direction!

And I’m resisting, at least for now, the temptation to view our calendars as “the cookbooks of our lives.” Maybe we’ll get back to that later.

But right now, I’m gonna make The Perfect Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich for breakfast.

See you back here tomorrow, and as always I thank you reading and responding and sharing my humble blog that’s “Fresh-Brewed Daily.”

What Did You Do?!

Scotty Smith, real life friend and colleague in another denomination, says it so well —

Nothing you did made God delight in you more.

Nothing you did diminished his love for you.

This doesn’t mean God is indifferent.

Rather, he is tenaciously consistent, steadfast in his love, and abounding in grace.

He made Jesus your righteousness, not your 2nd chance.

— So what did you do?

Or not do?

Either way, Christ Jesus was, is, and shall be “your righteousness, not your 2nd chance.” 

Sit with that a bit.

It’s all about Christ Jesus.

Soak in that grace.

Let it permeate your heart, your mind, and your life.

And join me in being thankful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Fifth Book.

The Book of Discipline.

Say what?!

The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

[PLEASE NOTE: If you’re not sure why I’m writing today about a 5th book, back up and read the first four in this series. You’ll be glad you did.]

Here’s one of my favorite parts of this volume, taken directly from The Preamble to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church: “The church is a community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ.” Great start, with a simply profound definition of who we are together, right?

The very next sentence defines the church, and remember that’s us in community, as “the redeemed and redeeming fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by persons divinely called, and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment.” Don’t you love that? So do I, especially the “redeemed and redeeming” description; I mean, come on, talk about an Identity and a Job Description, wow!

And so our primary tasks involve what? We’re to be preaching “the Word of God”, which includes teaching and sharing in helpful ways that make sense to the recipients; see Acts 2 for an example.

We’re also a people among whom “the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment.” We understand those to be the two holy sacraments found in The New Testament: baptism and communion.

Next comes this: “Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit the church seeks to provide for the maintenance of worship, the education of believers, and the redemption of the world.” Any question about the inclusive and expansive nature of who we are, and who we are to be? In that one sentence are three massive reasons for our existence —

worship
education
redemption

— and now kaboom we’re off and running.

Questions immediately arise. Some trip us up. Some speed us along on our journey.

Sometimes our questions redirect us.

Sometimes our questions become arguments.

Sometimes our arguments become irreconcilable differences.

Usually, however, our Book of Discipline serves much the same purpose as The Rules of The Road, the book I study before renewing my driver’s license.
The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church was best defined for me by Nolan B. Harmon (ask me about him sometime) when he called it “our guidebook for getting along.” I love that: “our guidebook for getting along.”

It has our history in it.

It has our rules in it.

As has been said many times, it acknowledges our past and addresses our future.

By the grace of God, may we never forget what Proverbs 16:9 says: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

And by the grace of God, under the guidance of The Holy Spirt, and in the community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ, may our future be even brighter than the best moments of our past!

Amen?

(Oh, and there’s a sixth and highly unofficial book named by Bishop Beard that has also shaped us. If you know what it was, please don’t tell yet. If you don’t know that sixth book, keep checking back here; like on some reality tv shows, Monday will be the big reveal.)

That Fourth Book

I hope and pray we all someday take the Good News of The Gospel as seriously as some of us have taken parts of The Book of Resolutions.

[NOTE: If you wonder what it means to be on our 4th book in this series, back up and review my last three blogs here. You’ll be glad you did.]

The United Methodist Book of Resolutions “is not a book that you will sit down to read from cover to cover.

You might not get acquainted with these resolutions until you are in the midst of some controversy in your congregation, or something happens regarding a particular subject in your community (or state, or nation). You may find that your denomination’s policies give you more ‘food for thought.’

Maybe you will agree with the denomination’s position.

On the other hand, you may disagree. Individuals or groups in the congregation can seek to change policy with which they disagree by petitioning the General Conference to amend, replace, or delete resolutions.”

That says it well! It’s from this link, where you’ll also find several excellent FAQs (though written regarding the 2012 edition of this book, its purpose is the same) —

https://www.umofficialresources.com/help/bor_users_guide.html

— And a bit more recent overview is this: “The Book of Resolutions provides models for applying an active faith to daily life in ways that can impact the world around us.

“The Book of Resolutions contains all current social policies adopted by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church.

“It includes positions on more than 200 subjects, organized into sections: The Natural World, The Political Community, The Nurturing Community, The World Community, The Social Community, and The Economic Community.”

That’s from —

https://www.cokesbury.com/The-Book-of-Resolutions-of-The-United-Methodist-Church-2016-1?refq=book%20of%20resolutions.

— Someone has said, “It’s the positions we’ve talked about and taken on issues.”

So what, you ask? As an ordained, working pastor in our denomination, I am bound by the contents of this book.

Personally? I hope and pray we all someday take the Good News of The Gospel as seriously as some of us have taken parts of The Book of Resolutions.

 

 

 

 

Our Third Book.

[PLEASE NOTE: If you have no idea why we’re on “our third book,” simply back up to the two previous days and catch up. You’ll be glad you did.]

The United Methodist Book of Worship is a companion volume to The United Methodist Hymnal. (Yes, we do have a clever way with titles!)

It opens like this —

“From John Wesley’s Sunday Service of the Methodists of North America in 1784, through the hymnals, rituals, and books of worship of our antecedent denominations, our official worship resources have defined our Church.”

— Our current one, published in 1992, is the most thorough example of such an effort I’ve had the chance to examine and use.

In the best sense of the word, it is also the most catholic-with-a-small-c book of worship resources I’ve seen.

Like our Hymnal, it draws from a healthy diversity of people and places and eras. It reflects and helps shape who and how we are.

I promised you yesterday that I’d be much briefer today. You can explore, enjoy, and benefit from The United Methodist Book of Worship by going here:

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship/book-of-worship