Marine United Church of Christ

Pastor Phil

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  • To Contact Pastor Phil, email address at pastorphil@marineucc .org
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    Dear Friends,

    As you may have already heard, the church is closing down Sunday School and worship services until after Easter. We will reevaluate at that time and let you know where we go from there. Until we resume weekly services, I will be sending out a weekly piece which will include a devotional item, an updated prayer list so that you can keep in touch with the ongoing concerns of our family of faith, and announcements.

    I would like to make sure that everyone knows that I will be in the office much of the day, Monday through Thursday, and, if I am out, you can reach me at my cell phone (618-540-9894). I am available to those who wish to come in to speak with me or those who wish to speak with me by phone. I am also available, of course, by email:

    This is a difficult time for many people in terms of being able to make ends meet or to just do the things we normally take for granted. If your church family can be of help to you, please let us know. If you can’t leave your home and need groceries picked up, if you are short of funds and need help with an electric bill, if you are looking for day care, or whatever it might be, while we can’t promise to meet every need, we will certainly do what we can. We often talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus for those outside our immediate congregation. We need to be especially cognizant at this time of those within our congregation.

    DEVOTIONAL PIECE: March 22, 2020

    These thoughts are based on Exodus 17: 1 - 7 if you want to look at that reading for yourself. The ancient Israelites have been wandering in the wilderness and finding it to be no picnic. They are getting so fed up with their plight that they even begin to long for their former condition of slavery in Egypt.

    Poor Moses. He hadn't asked for this job of being in charge of tens of thousands of complainers. At the slightest misfortune they cry out, "Is the Lord with us or not?" In today’s text the particular grievance is the lack of water.

    Are we so different? In our society the particular grievance is the coronavirus. Like the Israelites, are we not at times prone to call out, "God, if you really exist, why have you let the people of the world suffer like this?" Of course, this is not a new question. It tends to come up whenever there is tragedy, whether worldwide or very personal. Surrounded by all the gifts in our lives, by the very gift of life itself, we are none-the-less prone to complain, to demand more, to see the glass as half-empty.

    Operating on a great deal of faith, Moses found springs of water for his people. We, too, have the capability to uncover springs of new life that can move us out of the doom and gloom we sometimes get stuck in. Like Moses, we must be prepared to act. Acts of kindness and compassion are often the path out of despondency. There is something about doing good that does good for our own soul, our own emotional and psychological health. It is one of the great mysteries of being human. When we lose ourselves in helping our neighbors we seem to also lose our inclination to despair.

    A group of college students, well established in their careers, got together to visit one of their old profs. Conversation soon turned to grumbling about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with large pots of coffee and an assortment of cups (porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite) telling them to help themselves to coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, "If you noticed, all the nice-looking expensive cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.

    "You weren't going to keep the cup. What all of you really wanted was coffee, but you consciously or unconsciously went for the best cups. And then, instead of just enjoying the coffee, you began eyeing each other’s cups."

    "Now consider this: Life is like the coffee; the jobs, the money, and position in society are the cups. The type of cup we have does not define, nor change, the quality of the life we live."

    Sometimes by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided,” the professor concluded.

    This story is not meant to suggest that those who are struggling should try to, in those infamous cruel words, "Be happy, don't worry." That is shallow and unthoughtful advice to those who are hurting. But I think the message that does shine through is "Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Act compassionately." If that sounds like Jesus, that's not a coincidence. Amen.

    Prayer List

    "With the respect and privacy of the poeple on the prayer list we will not state the reason of being on the prayer list. Please call Phil with any questions (Who/What/When/Why) about these people on the list. Thank You"

    More Pastor Phil


    Spring Clean Up

    We will have an outdoor spring clean-up day Saturday, April 4, beginning at 9:00 a.m. We appreciate any and all help we can get!

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    Marine United Church of Christ ☀  111 N. Center  ☀  P.O. Box 396  ☀  Marine, Il    62061