From Our Pastor

For God So Loved the World

Posted 8 March, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Quick: what's the most well-known verse from the Bible? My guess is it is John 3:16. So recite with me, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not die, but have everlasting life." You may be like me in remembering the young man with the rainbow wig who used to hold up a sign with "John 3:16" upon it at numerous sporting events.

This verse is before us as we worship on Sunday, as we share Jesus' conversation with a man named Nicodemus, as found in John 3:14-21. As we listen in on this conversation of faith, the Chancel Choir will sing an anthem titled, "For God So Loved the World." With you, I give thanks for the musical leadership we enjoy in Corky Corcoran, Beth Chapman, and Jill Gardner (organist). I encourage you to share your appreciation with these gifted leaders.

I am grateful to have shared with you in the service of covenant renewal last Sunday. I carry with me wonderful memories of sharing with you these words of repentance, commitment, renewal. I hope you may have saved your copy of the covenant renewal and refer to it frequently. I believe this covenant to be a tremendous advocate accompanying us in this season of Lent. I also encourage you to tend to the discipline of the daily scriptures before us in Lent and remind you of the small group opportunities each Tuesday at noon and 6:45pm. Finally, keep in mind the services of worship during Holy Week: Palm Sunday (March 25th), Maundy Thursday (7pm March 29th), Good Friday (Crosswalk at noon; Sanctuary service at 7pm, March 30th). We will then have a sunrise service on the front lawn of the church at 7am.

I enjoyed preaching for the Lenten lunch and service this past Tuesday at Calvary Christian Church. This series of Lenten luncheons continues next Tuesday at Broad Street Christian Church at noon. We host this service on March 20th; lunch will be served in our fellowship hall with Father Nicholas Hull of Christ Episcopal Church leading worship after lunch.

If you are interested in Bible Study, this opportunity offered by Smith Memorial UMC in Collinsville, beginning April 9th, may interest you. Check out this link for more information.

I will go to Danville on Saturday with a great delegation from First UMC; we will be attending a 5 Talent Academy event titled, "Beyond Sunday School: Empowering Regular Folks to lead a God Movement." I look forward to this day-long event and trust it will provide some great ideas by which to strengthen especially the Faith Development ministries of the church.

I am honored as pastor of First UMC to have this church asked to host an interfaith dialogue sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Martinsville/Henry County at 3pm on Friday April 20th.  Similar events have been hosted by other houses of faith recently; I welcome being host for this event and will share further information as the date approaches.