Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Happenings Around the Presbytery - May 31, 2017



Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery
907 National Road
Wheeling, WV  26003
304-232-3490

Office Hours: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In an emergency after office hours: Call 740-359-1813





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PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP IN YOUR PRAYERS:
Bill Betteridge
Karen Edwards
Ed Mooney
Leura Nancy Macon
Bob Shearer
Mike Anderson
Nancy Mountz
David Brocklehurst
Ginny Zoric
Ed Rudiger
R. H. “Mac” McCuen
Royce Browder
Wayne Devore
Karen Byrne
Sharon Willits
Debbie Hale
David Bruce
Vickie Whinnery
Domasi Partnership
Malawi food crisis
Keith McMannis
Judee Parkinson
Dakota Partnership
Joe Hendricks
Alberta Crawford
Sheryl Looking Elk
All our service men & women
Rev. Loren & Mrs. Violet Robinson (Pine Ridge Presby Ch)
For peace and an end to violence and hatred
Please keep us informed of any prayer concerns you may have.
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PRAYER FOR UOVP PASTORS: Select one of these pastors and remember him in your prayers this week: Kenn Sickle, Lloyd Smith, David Stammerjohn, Rick Stanley, Ed Stern.
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THE MOST UP TO DATE PULPIT SUPPLY LIST, effective 5-30-17, can be found on our website under “Pulpit Supply.”
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Image result for picnic foodFIRST PRESBYTERIAN Church, 4th and Walnut Streets, Martins Ferry, OH, invites you to a Picnic On The Sidewalk, Tuesday, June 6, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Menu: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Cole Slaw, Macaroni Salad, Baked Goods, Pop, and Water. Gift Baskets and 50/50 Raffle. For more info, call the church office 740-633-6107.

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GIVING FOR THE FUTURE: By participating in the Pentecost Offering, your congregation helps encourage, develop, and support young people, and address the needs of at-risk children. Read more.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY June 2 ~ Mike Anderson, michael@creeds.net

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God and the StormSometimes God calms the raging storm and lets nature rest for a while.
Sometimes God allows the storm to rage and calms those who ask for inner peace and courage.
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PC(USA) membership decline continues but slowsJerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly. Net loss of 89,893.
‘We are not dying. We are Reforming.’ Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II | Office of the General Assembly. Significant Aspects of the 2016 Statistical Report.
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PITTSBURGH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY Leadership, Conflict and Creativity June 8-10 with Miroslav Volf, Leanna Fuller, and David Jones.
Volf-Miroslav   Leanna-Fuller2   Jones-David-Lee
We often struggle to cope with conflict in our families, congregations, and communities. We will explore conflict and difference as challenges that hold potential for creative transformation. Don't miss the popular Henderson Summer Leadership Conference with three thought-provoking days filled with inspiration, solutions, self-care, and fellowship.
SessionsPeace-Seeking in a Polarized World: Family Systems Perspectives on Leadership with David Jones.
Engaging Difference, Fostering Hope: Practicing Leadership and Care in Community with Leanna Fuller.
Before Embrace with Miroslav VolfFree and Open to the Public.
Panel discussion with conference speakers; panel on self-care and embodied practices. Introduction and presentation of different self-care practices.
Reserve your spot now–join us for one day or all three! Full conference rate: $150 (includes meals), single day rate: $75/day (includes meals). Lodging is separate and not included in rate. Co-sponsored with Pittsburgh Pastoral InstituteREGISTER
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MONTREAT CONFERENCE CENTER is gearing up for summer. We're getting ready to host a multitude of guests in Montreat, and you may even be one of them! From Youth Conference to Worship and Music to the fourth of July celebration, summer is full of new faces! If you're in Montreat this summer, for any reason, there are plenty of ways for you to connect. Check out our weekly publication, This Week In Montreat, for all the happenings in Montreat that week. You can find hard copies of This Week In Montreat in most of the gathering spaces here or online. Click here to learn more: Visit the TWIM Page
Summer Worship in Montreat: One of the highlights of Montreat Conference Center’s year-round programs is thesummer worship series in which leading preachers from across the country join with visual and performing art professionals and volunteers in a service of worship open to the surrounding community. All are welcome and all are invited.
An Evening with Rachel Held Evans: Montreat Conference Center is pleased to host An Evening with Rachel Held Evans on August 12, 2017, at 7:30 pm in Anderson Auditorium. Doors will open at 7:00 pm. This event is open to the public. Rachel will be here as part of our 2017 Women's ConnectionTickets are $50 in advance, $55 on-site. Tickets will go on sale in July. Sign up for updates here!
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THE FOLLOWING ITEMS HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY RUN:
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JUNE PRAYER REQUESTS can be found on our website under Spotlight and in the calendar.
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PRESBYTERIAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S May newsletter can be found on our website under Items of Interest.
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MALE INSTRUCTOR FOR SUMMER PROGRAM NEEDED. Laughlin Memorial Chapel is in need of a male Instructional Aide/Counselor for its Summer Jam Program beginning on June 19, 2017, through July 14, 2017. The Instructional Aide must be at least 18 years of age and finished his first year of college. This is a paid position with hours of 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, this is a 4 week program. The summer program consists of In House activities, swimming dates at the local parks, faith based lessons and other outside activities planned. If interested in working with children and having a fun filled day, please contact Laughlin Chapel at (304) 232-2630.
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RETREAT/WORKSHOP, “Gun Violence: Its Ripple Effects and Prevention,” will be held Saturday, June 3, 2017, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with registration from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. All are welcome. Hosted by the United Presbyterian Church, 310 E Main St, Richmond, OH, (Near Steubenville/Wintersville, just five miles north of Rt. 22 along Rt. 43). Sponsored by our Peacemaking Sub-Committee. Beginning with worship in a retreat/workshop setting, we will then watch and discuss the documentary film Trigger: The Ripple Effects of Gun Violence, produced by PCUSA. After lunch (simple and provided), we will engage in a series of five studies prepared by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship that addresses gun violence prevention. We will end with a time for meditation and prayer.
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EVERYONE HAS A STORY. Join us for an evening of fellowship and storytelling. Weather permitting, we will have a fire. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair. Sunday, June 4th, at 6:00 p.m. Cross Creek “Tent” Church, 3831 Tent Church Road, Colliers, WV 26035. For more info, call Frank Lewis 304-266-8154.
Directions to Cross Creek Church from US 22 East: Exit US 22 at the Harmon Creek Exit. Turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto Harmon Creek Road. Follow Harmon Creek Road into Colliers. Turn right onto Mechling Hill Road (the corner past the Colliers Elementary School). Turn LEFT at the top of the hill at the (T) intersection of Mechling Hill Road and Eldersville Road. Traffic coming from your right has the right-of-way and does not have a stop sign. Follow Eldersville Road less than one mile and find Tent Church Road on the right. There is a large white sign for the church at the corner of Eldersville Road and Tent Church Road. Turn right onto Tent Church Road. The church is 500 feet down this country lane and on the right. There is a sign in the parking lot.
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THE ECUMENICAL SCRIPTURE WORKSHOP: WELCOMING THE STRANGER ~ OR NOT? will be held June 19 – 23, 2017, at St. John XXIII Pastoral Care Center, Charleston, WV. Anyone interested in this workshop may call the Rev. Barry Hall for information: 740-546-4521 or 740-312-9721 cell (afternoons). See the brochure on our website under “Items of Interest.” Registration and payment must be received by Monday, June 5, 2017.
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Office of Faith-Based Investing releases new videoRick Jones | Presbyterian News Services. Leaders seek to educate Presbyterians about talks with corporations.
‘Facing Racism’ campaign offers Belhar resourcesGregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service. Second installment of program to focus on newly adopted confession.
Not quite right: Don’t let the church become fake newsJoshua Bower | Presbyterians Today. Proclaiming good news in a divided culture.
POINT volunteers lead the way in assisting churches with educational ministryDebbi Markland Ulmer | Special to Presbyterian News Service. Training enables educators to share information on PC(USA) curricula.
‘Teach Me the Way I Should GO’ Bible study now available for youth and youth groupsEmily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service. Free study is third of five scheduled resources in Post Presbyterian Youth Triennium mission impact initiative.
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WHEN COMING TO THE PRESBYTERY OFFICE: Vance church is now keeping all outside doors locked—with the exception of the door to their church office under the big green awning off the parking lot. To get to the Presbytery Office once inside those doors, go left just past the red carpeted stairway and through double wooden doors to the hallway and stairs/elevator that bring you up to us. Or call 304-232-3490 and we will come down to let you in. If you usually come in through our front door and find it locked, please call and we will let you in.
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SYNOD OF THE TRINITY story on the three-presbytery CRE training that is currently taking place in our region:http://www.syntrinity.org/featured/presbyteries-team-up-to-train-prepare-commissioned-ruling-elders/
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PCUSA ABUSE PREVENTION HELPLINE. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) churches and individual members can call an Abuse Prevention Helpline to discuss concerns and incidents of abuse, seek criminal background checks and utilize an online Self-Assessment Tool to identify potential gaps in abuse risk management practices within their organization. For more on the Helpline, click here.
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The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s Big Tent biennial gathering will be held on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, MO, July 6–8, 2017.Mark your calendar and plan to join in three days of worship, workshops and the opportunity to engage and connect with other Presbyterians. Learn more.


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NEW WILMINGTON MISSION CONFERENCE will be held July 22-29, 2017, at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. Speakers include Dr. Rodger Nishioka, Rev. Dr. Jim Singleton, and Shane Bennett. Visit their website for more details or to register: www.nwmcmission.org.
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POGO XXI: Our Presbyterian Open Golf Outing #21 will begin with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 7that the Spring Hills Golf Course, East Springfield, OH. Fee: $40 per golfer (Includes green fees, cart, prizes, and dinner). RSVP by Tuesday, August 1stto the Presbytery Office 304-232-3490 oruovp@uovpresby.org. Foursomes, please.
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STEWARDSHIP KALEIDOSCOPE will be held September 25 – 27, 2017, at TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, St. Pete Beach, FL, for pastors, lay leaders, and anyone who is looking to learn more about stewardship in today’s church context. 30+ workshops will be offered. To register or for more info: www.stewardshipkaleidoscope.org. A free webinar will be held June 13.
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This Week's PCUSA News

 
This Week's PCUSA News
 
 
Click to register for Big Tent event
 
‘Why does Pentecost matter? What do we do with the Holy Spirit!’
Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
May 31 Facebook Live event to explore history and place of Pentecost in the Reformed tradition
 
 
 
New Pentecost worship resource exalts Holy Spirit-inspired possibilities
Pat Cole | Presbyterian News Service
Resource author Eileen Lindner draws on Belhar Confession to address fractious time
 
 
 
PC(USA) celebrates 25 years of partnership with the Church of Bangladesh
Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service
New congregations among tribal people and a third diocese are results of outreach
 
 
 
Reformation is ‘GPS’ for next 500 years, says S. African Anglican leader in Luther’s town
Kathrin Erbe | for World Council of Churches
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba urges youth to hear the cries of others and the earth
 
 
 
Managing editor hired for Christian social justice journal, Unbound
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Henry K. Stone to begin new duties in June
 
 
 
Ukrainian peacemaker devotes life to helping at-risk youth
Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service
Alla Soroka inspired by opportunity to participate in Peacemaking program
 
 
 
My Faith at Work: My ministry? Eating school lunches
Delaine Zody | Presbyterians Today Blog
Becoming a school chaplain
 
 
 
Big Tent music director attracts local talent as worship leaders
Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service
‘Glory to God’ contributor Paul Vasile makes space for diverse styles, voices
 
 
 
Refugee women learn independence, sewing one STITCH at a time
Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
Louisville partnership creates an enterprising community of caring
 
 
 
Gen-On Ministries curriculum now available from Congregational Ministries Publishing
CMP Release
‘Faith for Life’ Bible study provides faith formation for K-8 students
 
 
 
German Protestant Kirchentag opens to call for renewal of global order
Stephen Brown | World Council of Churches
Ecumenical delegates gather on 500th anniversary of Reformation
 
 
 
PC(USA) membership decline continues but slows
Jerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly
Net loss of 89,893
 
 
 
‘We are not dying. We are Reforming.’
Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II | Office of the General Assembly
Significant Aspects of the 2016 Statistical Report
 
 
 
Presbyterians join Coalition of Immokalee Workers at Wendy’s shareholders meeting
Rick Jones and Andrew Kang Bartlett | Presbyterian News Service
Several address corporate leadership on Fair Food Program
 
 
 
New incentive loan offered to help churches make campuses more accessible
Clare Lewis | Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program
Building renovations aim at reflecting PC(USA) inclusive values
 
 
 
Following God’s detour
Dustin Ellington | Mission Crossroads
Teaching future pastors for the growing church in Africa
 

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, June 4, 2017 (The Day of Pentecost)

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, June 4, 2017 (...: Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from Acts ( Acts 2:1-21 ), the Old Testatment ( Numbers 11:24-30 ),  the  Psalms ( Psalm 104:24-3...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on Acts 20:24

Sunday's Sermon - Foam Fingers and a Wooden Cross

Below is a copy of the sermon I preached on Sunday, May 28, in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia. You can hear a podcast of the sermon on the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you find this sermon meaningful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.


Now I assume everybody has seen those big foam fingers. And even though they come in all kinds of sizes and shapes, the classic design is the index finger pointed up. And even if it’s not printed on the part that goes on the hand, the meaning is both clear and universal. Of course, they didn’t have them when I was a kid. I mean, when we went to a game, all we could do was to stand and shout, but now we have this huge finger to show where we stand. And we can wave it back and forth with all the other fingers in the stands so that it looks a little like waves on the ocean or those strips that go back and forth in a carwash. And I’ll tell you, the score is irrelevant. When people see all those foam fingers sticking up like stalks of corn in a field, they immediately know what we think of our team. And who cares that the guy behind us gets really annoyed, because he doesn’t want to have his view blocked by this up-cropping of polyurethane. It’s worth it just to announce to the world that “we’re number one.” “We’re number one.” “We’re number one.”

And you know, when you think about it, I believe this foam finger and the one-ness it represents, man, I believe that would probably be a pretty accurate image for our culture. I mean, isn’t that what we’re all suppose to want, you know, to be first, to come out ahead of the others, man, to be number one? And when that’s our attitude, we’re showing excitement aren’t we: excitement in our sports teams and excitement in our country pride and excitement in our school, in fact, excitement in whatever it is we support. I’ll tell you, it’s kind of got that “love it or leave it” feel to it. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of many things more exciting than waving around that foam finger and letting people know exactly who’s first.

And you know, when you get right down to it, why shouldn’t this kind of focus on the number one, man, why shouldn’t it be exciting? I mean, when we do this kind of thing, our minds are directed in the most exciting, the most thrilling, the most amazing direction possible, because it’s focused right on ourselves, isn’t it; and I’m talking about on our team or our nation or our school. It’s on what we think and on what we value and on what we want. It’s about being the best and brightest, and the first and foremost, and the one and only. And why is that our focus? That’s easy, because we really want to believe that we’re number one. And we’ve got a foam finger to prove it. Of course, it also means that everyone and everything else is, at best, secondary, you know, number two or lower. But who cares? Not us, I mean, not if our focus is on ourselves.

And I’ll tell you, to take this kind of perspective, man, it demands almost no effort at all. In fact, looking after and taking care of number one, that’s as natural as cooking out on Memorial Day or President Trump tweeting or Cleveland and Golden State playing in the NBA finals. My gosh, people of intelligence and good will might debate things like the validity of global warming or the merits of Obamacare or the reason why the Renaissance Fair is going to be called “Red, White, and Boom” this year, but to say that focusing on self isn’t natural, even easy; as our brothers and sisters in New Jersey might say, “Forget about it.”

And the result, the result of taking this easy route and focusing on number one, well, I think there are two outcomes we can pretty much expect: one good and one not so good. I mean, I think there’s always a lot of satisfaction, self-satisfaction when we see ourselves as best. Let’s face fact, it feels good believing that our team or our country or our school or well, ourselves, man, that we’re numero uno, number one. And even if it’s not true and deep down we kind of know it, it’s still nice to sort of forget reality for just a little bit and put that foam finger in the air either literally or figuratively and pretend we live in the world that we want, not the one we necessarily have. I’ll tell you, although I think he was just moving to the spot he needed to be for the group picture, I also believe that when the President of the United State moved in front of the Prime Minister of Montenegro, man, I believe it probably ticked off every Montenegrin, all 460,000 of them. Why? Because they believe that Montenegro, man, they’re number one. And if we were Montenegrins, we’d believe it too. And that kind of pride, man, it just feels good. And so, on one hand, this kind of one-ness, it’s the source of a lot of satisfaction.

On the other hand, though, it’s also pretty isolating and when your isolated, that can be also lonely. I mean, just think about how tough it is for those 386 Montenegrins who live in Albania. Talk about lonely. And I think we all know that it just doesn’t endear a guy to other folks when he’s shoving a foam finger in their faces and saying, “I’m number one, which means you’re not.” I’ll tell you, unless you’ve got a lot of your own kind around and haven’t decided to divide you kind into smaller, number one groups, the isolation and loneliness can chew up whatever satisfaction we get from that oversized, “we’re number one” finger. In other words, the results of this kind of oneness can be pretty disappointing.

And I’ll tell you, that’s the reason I think we can be grateful to Jesus Christ, because he offered another way to look at the number one, a way that results in a radically different kind of oneness than the kind represented by the foam finger. And it’s right here, at the end of the passage we’re looking at this morning. In his prayer to his father, Jesus said, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” [John 17:11] Let me say that last part again: “so that they may be one, as we are one.” Now, that’s what he said.

And that’s important because, rather than all the divisions and all the isolation and all the loneliness that comes from trying to be number one, the kind of oneness that Jesus talked about to his disciples, well it’s going to result in things like unity and fellowship and strength that goes beyond the limitations of team or group. In fact, I think it leads to the kind of community that can reach around the world and that can include people from different cultures and who speak different languages and who follow different customs, and yet who share something profound and powerful that holds them together. You see, rather than breaking down into increasingly smaller groups, each claiming to be first, we can become a body in which people can not only use their unique talents to complement
one another, we can all grow in our understanding of others and of ourselves. And even though we might lose a little personal satisfaction that comes from believing that we’re better than others, we’ll gain a lot of strength and confidence, knowing that we’re a part of something bigger than our little group. You see, the oneness preached by Christ will have some powerful results.

But to get there, well, it’s not going to be easy; it’s going to take genuine effort on our part. I mean, it’s not easy to give up the illusion that we can be self-sufficient, that we can prosper without the help of others, that we can live as disciples of Jesus Christ within our own little group. Man, it’s not easy surrendering the idea that we’re the center of the universe and that what we want is more important than what they need and keeping what we’ve got is more important than sharing what we’ve been given. It’s just not easy.

And I’ll tell you, I think Jesus knew that, because in this prayer, and by-the-way, this is his last prayer in the Gospel of John, Jesus asked God to help his disciples really become one. I mean, according to this passage, “after Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” [John 17:1-11]

You see, since he was leaving, Jesus asked God to protect these people whom the Father had given to the Son, these folks who’d received the truth from the mouth of Christ himself and who’d decided to trust that what he said was indeed true, these brothers and sisters who’d received the glory of God. He prayed that God might protect them from the Evil One, who distractions us from the truth, and to protect them from the values of a world that wants us to divide into little groups. And he prayed so that God might protect us, too. As he’ll say a little later in his prayer, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. [John 17:20-21a] You see, although this unity, this wholeness, this oneness isn’t going to be easy, we can be confident that we won’t be making this effort alone.

And so, with God’s help, we’ll be able to shift our focus, and I’m talking about to shift it away from the stuff that world says is important and toward something very different. I mean, rather than my group being number one and your group something lower, our focus will be on us all being one, one people who are loved by one God and who will be redeemed by one Savior and who are right now surrounded and filled by one Spirit. And for those of us who already trust that it’s true, we can come together as one body that cuts across political borders and cultural boundaries. And as we look to those who don’t yet trust, well, together we can share with them, in ways that they can understand, “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit...” [2 Corinthians 13:13] You see, just like the results we’ll see and the effort we’ll need, our focus will be different when we claim the vision of oneness offered by Jesus Christ.

And because it’s so different, maybe a foam finger isn’t the best way to express this new vision. I mean, while it was great is showing everybody that we were focused on ourselves even though that separated us from others and while waving that finger around demanded almost no effort at all because wanting to be number one seems to be really natural and while doing this kind of thing resulted in some satisfaction but also a lot of isolation and loneliness, Jesus has offered us a different kind of oneness to claim. I mean, the kind of one he wanted us to become is going to result in both unity and growth and even though it’s going to require genuine effort on our part, we won’t be doing it alone and it’s going to shift our focus from self and separation to unity and others. Now, I think that’s what Jesus was going for when he asked his Father to “...protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” And if that’s the case, well, a bunch of molded polyurethane just doesn’t seem right. And so, even though we might continue to wave them around at ball games, as it relates to our lives as followers of Christ, maybe we should swap all those foam fingers for a symbol that’s more appropriate, maybe something like a single wooden cross.