Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pastor Doug's August Newsletter

Welcome to the initial edition of Pastor Doug's newsletter.

This will be a bit of information, for those who do not know me.

My name is Doug Theobald, and I am the Pastor of the Struthers United Methodist Church, in Struthers, Ohio. By some odd quirk of God's will, I am also a firefighter in East Cleveland, and that is roughly 75 miles from my church. I love doing the Lord's work, and also having fun at the same time. I am a fan of the Cleveland Indians, and I love all things Snoopy, Minions, and really all fun animated characters. I really enjoy the children's message part of services, becaue you just never know what is going to come out of the mouth of a 5 or 6 year old. I am often pleasantly surprised at just how closely some of these children pay attention, and stunned, on occasion, when they have been able to answer Biblical questions with authority. We are a smaller church with a huge heart, and we love taking the word of the Lord into the world.

Each year, our Youth Group has a mission trip, where they, and their adult supervisors, visit an area struck by poverty or natural disaster, and do work to help people in need, while spreading the Word of God at the same time. We have recently returned home from a mission trip to Virginia where we helped people in need. We helped rebuild peoples homes, and helped build their faith at the same time. In turn, they helped build our faith as well! What a totally exhausting, yet incredibly rewarding experience. It is always wonderful working alongside our youth, and the adults who made the trip, Pictures of our trip are on our website, in the "photos" link. Now we are home, completely worn out, but so happy to have been able to share the love of God with those in need.

Looking ahead to events at the church, we will, of course, have services at 11am on Sundays. We also have the Canfield Fair to look forward to. We have just finished upgrading our church website, so it is good to have that up and running.  The Lord's work never ends, but we love it!

Our Bible Lesson for this month will come from Luke 8:41-56 (RSV)

41 And there came a man named Ja′irus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus’ feet he besought him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.As he went, the people pressed round him. 43 And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, 44 came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden,
she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” 49 While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.”51 And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.52 And all were weeping and bewailing her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once; and he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed; but he
charged them to tell no one what had happened.

Jesus paused on his way to heal Jairus' daughter in order to restore to full life his own 'daughter'. Her faith healed her, but Jesus' words gave her back her humanityAs if the poor woman in this story has not already suffered enough, even at the moment of her healing she has to come forward and admit to Jesus, in front of  all the people in the crowd why she needed to touch him and how she was healed. She had to suffer the humiliation of announcing to all who could hear that she was unclean. (which was one of the worst things that could happen to a person in that time)

This unnamed woman had been hemorrhaging blood for 12 years. In all that time the woman, anything she touched, and anyone who touched her was regarded as unclean. No one was going to make a path through the crowds to allow her to speak with Jesus.

She was, no doubt, weakened by her many years of illness and blood loss, yet was determined to get to Jesus, as she knew that just to touch him would be enough. She pressed through the crowd until with the tip of her finger she touched the hem of his robe, "and immediately her hemorrhaging stopped" (v. 44).and she was healed.

Then came the embarrassing moment when she identified herself and told her story to Jesus and to the crowd. Her relief at being healed after so many years gave her the strength and confidence to speak up. In a moment, the embarrassment and shame fell away as Jesus' voice echoed in her ears, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace" (v. 48). "Daughter"-  a woman who had been an outcast for so long is affirmed in her special and close relationship with Jesus. He claims her as a daughter.
Jesus paused on his way to heal Jairus' daughter in order to restore to full life his own 'daughter'. Her faith healed her, but Jesus' words gave her back her humanity

I'll see you next month.

God Bless!

Pastor Doug