A Word From Pastor Karen
As we move through Lent, we are taking time to examine our assumptions about our faith, both in worship and in our study time together. If you have missed worship, a review of the main points of each week is on our Facebook page,www.facebook.com/memorial4all
. The first post in this series was on March 4. While you're there, make sure to "like" our Facebook page!
March 22 was the last "ordinary" Sunday in Lent, before the pageantry and drama of Palm and Passion Sunday, this coming week. We took the opportunity to slow down and quiet down a bit, to reflect on this time set apart from the rest of the year, on what we've thought and felt and learned.
The scripture for the week was Jeremiah 31:31-34, from Jeremiah's "Book of Comfort," written to the people of Judah who were in exile in Babylon, as Jeremiah had predicted. The people have broken their covenant with God, and God will try again.
This new covenant contains three promises, all made by God. The people don’t promise to do anything, which given our track record, is probably a good idea.
God will place God’s law in our hearts;
everyone will know God, from the least of us to the greatest;
and God will remember our sin no more.
The content of the law that God places in our hearts isn’t specified. But it’s clear that the law has a different home. No longer will God’s law be engraved in stone and displayed in rotundas for all to see and none to follow. It will be engraved in people’s hearts and displayed in their lives. This is a radical change: the difference between knowing about something and knowing it. This new covenant promises the kind of knowledge that we can act on.
I saw a picture from the first day that Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right, in 1967. It’s a city street corner, and it’s a mess. Cars are going both ways on both sides of the road, and some cars are going sideways, maybe trying to turn around or escape the chaos. A lot of pedestrians are out there, too, standing in clumps between the cars, pointing and chatting. Bicycles and their riders aren’t faring any better. There are a few signs pointing to where people should go, but they’re not helping.
This is the difference between a law engraved on stone and a law engraved on the heart. The written laws of Sweden commanded on a particular day in 1967 that people should drive on the right side of the road. The people knew this. They were trying. They didn’t mean to mess up the system. But it’s so hard to change! Somebody went the wrong way, and somebody else followed. That actually looked, for a while, like a better way to go. But it wasn’t--it was a dead end.
Once they internalized the law, once it was written on their hearts, and they didn’t have to think about it every second, and everyone started following it, the traffic snarl would ease and everything would work fine again. Better, somehow, we must presume, or they wouldn’t have bothered to change the law.
Imagine what it would be like if God’s law of love were engraved, not only in our own hearts, but in everyone’s heart. If we didn’t have to stop and wonder what God wants, but would just do it, as easily as we drive on the correct side of the street. If we didn’t have to worry that other people will harm us, because they have the same law too, and act on it as automatically as we do.
Are you imagining that? Does the world look like that now?
No? I don’t think so either.
The people who have received this promise will come home after the kingdom of Babylon falls to Persia. But it won’t all be great. The people don’t behave any better. People don’t seem to know God any better. As to whether God remembers their sins--well, I can’t say. But clearly, the promise is postponed.
It is common for Christians to interpret this passage as being about Jesus--that we have a new covenant, and it’s about our hearts, and we don’t have to worry about that pesky Jewish law any more. I’m a little squeamish about claiming this passage is about Jesus. It seems very disrespectful to our Jewish sisters and brothers. But even if it does point in some way to God’s coming incarnation, still the promise is postponed.
Because Christians do not, as far as I can tell, live out these promises.
The promise is always just beyond our grasp. We see it out of the corner of our eye. It’s a matter, as is so much of the life of faith, of already-and-mostly-not-yet. But still, the promise matters. To quote Jürgen Moltmann: “In the promises, the hidden future already announces itself and exerts its influence on the present through the hope it awakens.”
Hope is one result of this beautiful promise. But there is another. We can also pursue engraving God’s law in our hearts. Knowing God’s will, through study and practice and accountability to our community. Working together. Worshiping together.
This brings freedom. When the law is part of us, we are free to be who we are, knowing that who we are is the best we are made to be. We are free act spontaneously, as spontaneously as we drive on the correct side of the road. Knowing that what we choose is in line with God’s yearning for us and for all creation.
That’s a tall order. We don’t get there all at once. And it’s pretty rare for anybody to get there alone. That is why it is so important to be part of a community that is trying to do the same thing. We learn from each other, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable to our best intentions. If you, dear reader, are not currently participating in a community of faith, you are welcome to join us on our walk. And if Memorial is your home, I hope to see you soon!
This sermon also included a little more information about the prophet Jeremiah, and a discussion of recent events at the University of Oklahoma. If you'd like to see the
full video of any or our sermons, they are posted on our website, www.memorial4all.org
Worship at Memorial
This Sunday begins Holy Week, with Palm and Passion Sunday. We will begin our worship in the Narthex, and return to use of the full sanctuary with our traditional procession. Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seems to have been an intentional counter-protest against the Roman imperial procession that took place the same day. We, too, will march against the powers of the world that oppress and divide.
Our Lenten study this year is The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus Borg. This wonderful book looks at the elements of our Christian tradition--faith, scripture, God, Jesus--and then asks: how can we be passionate believers today? What does our faith require of us? And what difference does our faith make in our lives? We will meet every Sunday in March from 11:30 to 12:30 in the chapel. Please join us, even if you haven't been to the previous sessions. The topic for our final week of this session is Jesus: the Heart of God.
March 29, Palm and Passion Sunday
8:30 a.m. Worship and Communion in the chapel
10:00 a.m. Worship and Communion in the sanctuary,
beginning in the narthex
Scripture: selections from Mark, chapters 11-14
11:30 a.m. Lenten book study, The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg
with Pastor Karen, in the chapel
April 2, Holy Thursday
8:00 p.m. Worship and Communion with Central Korean
April 3, Good Friday
7:30 p.m. Worship and labyrinth-walking, in Asbury Hall
April 4, Holy Saturday:
11:00 a.m. Service of remembrance on the 47th anniversary
of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
at Bethel Baptist Church, 1 Fisher Court., White Plains
We will gather for a short service,
then walk in silence to Dr. King's statue by the courthouse.
April 5, Easter Sunday
6:33 a.m. Easter Sunrise Yoga on the front patio
* No 8:30 a.m. service this week *
10:00 a.m. Worship and Communion in the sanctuary
11:00 a.m. Community coffee hour in the Courtyard Room--everybody bring something to share!
11:00 a.m. Easter egg hunt for children 10 years old and under, in the courtyard!
Sunday at Memorial
Sunday School -All children ages 3 – 5th Grade are welcome to join the Sunday School every week following the Children’s time.
Fellowship Coffee Hour 11:00am - Please join us in the Fireside room.
Sunday School Notes and News
Thank you all for your generous donations
and support on our bake sale last Sunday.
We made $304 in total. In order to reach our goal, we need $300 more.
Part of the funds will be used to purchase t-shirts, underwear and toiletries for the homeless.
We would be greatful if we could find 10 volunteers to donate $15 each for a dunkin donuts "box of joe" and 3 volunteers to donate $10 for orange juice boxes.
In the name of the Youth Group, thank you in advance
for your continued support and with our best wishes
Life Coaching Services We offer coaching services for persons from all walks of life. We support personal and interpersonal coping and growth for people seeking assistance in daily life challenges. You do not have to be a member of the Memorial United Methodist Church in order to seek the services of ‘Memorial Outreach’, everyone is welcome.
Call (phone:914-949-2146 ) or e-mail:
in order to find out whether Memorial Outreach can provide you with what you are looking for and to make an appointment. All information and sessions are confidential. Coaching services are provided free of charge. Donations are welcome. The office is located at 250 Bryant Ave, White Plains, NY 10605.click here for flyer
Tuesdays @ Dorry’s gathers “conversation partners” weekly for informal table talk. There is no charge. Just come and order your food from Sylvia and enjoy the discussion and the company. Please join us. No reservations are needed. Tuesdays @ Dorry’s is coordinated by Dorry’s friends at Memorial United Methodist Church, Congregation Kol Ami, Sisters of the Divine Compassion and The White Plains Examiner.
March 31 -Sheila Dauer -Adjunct Professor, New School for Public Engagement, and advocate for women's human rights EPES, Popular Education for Health (Educación Popular en Salud), was founded in 1982 as an emergency health team for poor communities in Santiago, Chile. It has grown to be a leader in training and mobilizing community members to provide health services, awareness and empowerment. Sheila Dauer is an active volunteer with EPES. She will discuss the group's popular education model, describe some of the stories of women who became health promoters, and talk about EPES' exciting International School for training health promoters from Latin America and, most recently, East Africa.
Two excellent plays on Saturday evening, May 2 in Yonkers.
American Muslim Women?s Association
Muslims for the Arts
One unforgettable night.
A Word From the Laity
(Editor’s note: this is a place for members and friends of Memorial to make written contributions to the eblast. Space is limited and cannot be used to promote a business. Please send your submissions to
OUR LAST SNOW
Wintery ones, cheer up -
Spring's glacial gallop
will bring sunned blooms
both late and soon,
fade memories of cold,
will thaw, remake us bold.
Memorial Thrift Shop
is always seeking Volunteers
Shop Location: Memorial United Methodist Church (MUMC) 250 Bryant Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605
Hours of Operation: Monday - Thursday 10–2, Fri -Sat 10–4. For More Information Contact MUMC at 914-949-2146 or The LOFT at 914-948-2932. Benefiting Memorial United Methodist Church and The LOFT: LGBT Community Services Center.
Memorial UMC Emergency Assistance Program/Good Samaritan Fund Needs Your Help!
Every day 200,000 of our neighbors in Westchester County are food insecure. Members of the Memorial family and the greater White Plains community look to faith communities for critical assistance during times of crisis and struggle. Help us reach out in solidarity to our neighbors in need.
Support Memorial's "250" neighbors
Four organizations are based at Memorial, 250 Bryant Avenue: