Daylights saving is this Sunday so don’t forget to set you clocks forward an hour. See you all Sunday!
WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL // Into the Presence of God
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.
It had been along four days of waiting. Music played quietly in the background but did nothing to ease the sorrow or strain of this vigil. My sisters and I had retreated to our usual spots in the room where we could find some comfort and space while we waited; each with our own thoughts and memories. Each suffering differently even though we were sisters with a shared past. Our mother’s ragged breath was the only other sound in the room. Suddenly there was a gentle knock on the door and in bounds a beautiful Golden Retriever dragging a tall older gentleman behind him, who was caring a tape player. Everything in the room changed the moment Sierra, the dog, entered. He greeted each of us with joyful enthusiasm and even went over and gently sniffed my mother’s hand that hung over the side of the bed. It was as if the sun came out from the storm clouds. Where there had been silence and sorrow there was now laughter and conversation. Everyone was smiling and we all expected that my mother too would soon sit up in bed and take part in this momentary joyful party. Sierra, partner, Mac, asked if we thought my mother would like to hear some old-time hymns and proceeded to pull a chair close to my mother’s bed and pushed the button on his recorder. As Sierra worked her magic on my sisters and I, he tenderly held my mother’s hand and shut his eyes and listened to the music with her even joining in on the chorus. It was such a beautiful moment of presence. These were not strangers in the room…suddenly we were all ushered into the presence of God with a dog, a humble servant willing to share his time with three grieving girls and their mother who was about to leave this earthly plane. There were no miracles preformed, no sorrows removed, just all God’s creatures coming together to help usher a loved one into the permanent presence of God. I will never forget that moment for God’s rod and staff showed up in the form of a dog named Sierra and a gentleman named Mac.
Abba, Please grant that we all may have eyes to see and hearts to receive your comfort and grace during trying times. Help us to stay attune to you and the tasks at hand so that we may be your servants or ambassadors of grace when called on to do so.
20th-21st // Men’s Retreat
Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!
The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.
Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights
The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.