A Thank You Poem to Max Blalock
for leading Wellspring through Consecration Sunday
November 6, 2013
Written by: Pastor Edward Hopkins
(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)
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Our budget came in…
Ah! Such a bad spot.
We said, “Do we like this?
No, we do not.”
“These are terrible numbers,”
Pastor cried in a snit,
“Our money has vanished--
I think I should quit.”
All the people at Wellspring
Looked for something to try;
They went deep in their well
But their pots came back dry.
So, all they could do was to
And they did not like it
Not one little bit.
Then, from the back
Came a laugh so absurd,
A joyful expression
That n’er one had heard!
We twisted our heads,
Craned our necks to the back,
And then we saw him…
Our Max with the Facts.
“I know things seem bad
And the sun is not sunny,
But if God’s people stay faithful
There will be enough money!”
“Have no fear!” said our Max,
“Have you never heard?
That God made you a promise
And I stand on God’s Word!”
“That is good,” said some folks
“Most uplifting. Yes.
“But our Savior is coming
And will find this big mess.”
“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot fix it,
There is no way at all!”
Who stepped up to the pulpit?
Why our Max!
“Have no fear of this mess,”
Said our Max with the Facts.
“Come to God’s table
And fall on your knees.
And then you will see,
You will see if you please.”
“That the God of all goodness
Has heard your complaint
God will fill up your well
And will not let you faint.”
Then, he left with a ‘whoosh,’
He left with no trace;
Though his laughter still echoes
All over the place!
The money came in--
Our budget turned black.
He said it would happen,
Our Max with the Facts.
In a recent radio sermon, the Right Reverend Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, recalls that when he was a boy in Sunday school, he was asked to memorize a poem written by noted 20th century poet, Langston Hughes. The poem had a profound effect on his life.
Hold fast to dreams
For life without dreams
Is like a bird with a broken wing
That cannot fly.
Bishop Curry writes, “Hold fast to dreams. Hold fast... because God has a dream. God has a dream...a vision...a plan...a sublime purpose for this world. From day one, God has had a dream for his creation which encompasses every man, woman, and child,...all who walk upon the face of the God’s earthly creation.”
“God’s dream will not rest” he adds, “until the nightmares of all people are ended and God’s dream is realized. That’s where Jesus came in.”
I get this!
This makes sense to me and sums up the mission and ministry of every Christian congregation: Jesus is the Word of God become flesh. Jesus is the Dream
of God made flesh and sent to overcome the Nightmares
of all humanity! The Church exists to be “for the world the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.” God shares with every Christian His Dream and then calls each of us to act without weariness to end humanity’s Nightmares. “Let us not grow weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).”
Moreover, God compels the Church to share His restlessness for humanity by making human beings restless for Himself. In a little book called, Confessions
, St. Augustine of Hippo concurs, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Bishop Curry continues, “Jesus came to share the ways in which we might live out God’s dream...a way to be authentically human as God intended. Jesus came to lead us beyond self-interests... and into self-sacrifice. He came to make certain that we would provide all people with the food, housing, and care they require...just as if we were providing it all for Jesus himself. He came to show us how to become the human family of God (Michael Curry, ‘God Has a Dream,’ October 2012. Retrieved, October 23, 2013 from http://day1.org/5105-god_has_a_dream).
I think it is wrong-headed to measure the success of the Church on the volume of its in-gathering, the depth of its offerings, the height of its steeples, the clarity of its sound system, the number of folks on the roll, or the square footage of its sanctuary. The only measurement that matters, it seems to me, is the congregation’s restlessness to hold fast to the dream of God.
In what way does every Wellspring activity and ministry promote God’s Dream and mitigate the human nightmare? -Pastor Edward
A Wellspring Family Mission Trip
Pending the approval of the Risk-Taking Mission Committee and to the Administrative Council, I would like to propose a Wellspring UMC Family Mission trip set for the late winter or early spring, 2014. The trip will encompass a Friday to Sunday.
Furthermore, I suggest that we travel to Petersburg, Virginia, and work with Pathways Ministries, directed by two United Methodist Pastors, Dwala Ferrell and Mike Watts. Dwala and Mike have ridden the Holy Rollers bicycle tour for the past five years on an awesome tandem bicycle. I have heard them speak passionately on many occasions about the desperate needs in their community.
Pathways was begun in 1995 as an inter-faith community development corporation and is now an incorporated, 501(c)3 institution serving human needs in Petersburg.Reality in Petersburg
- has the highest child poverty rate of any city in Virginia with 41.4% of its children living below the poverty level
- 25.2% of all residents in Petersburg, or 8,015 people live in poverty, which is up a startling 37.6% from 2000
- The median household income is $32,435, only 54% of the state median, and down 9% from the 2000 census
- 31% of households in Petersburg are single-parent families [children in married-couple households are far less likely to experience poverty (5%) than children in single-parent households (25%)]
- 79% of the residents of Petersburg are African American (33% of black children in America live in poverty, as compared to 10% for white children)
- Poverty impacts crime: In 2008, the crime rate in Petersburg was three times that of the national average
- Poverty impacts nutrition: 34% of adults and 17% of preschool aged children in Petersburg are obese
Petersburg is only 50 miles from Wellspring. I would like our mission trip to be a multi-faceted experience with activities for people of all ages. I am going to invite students from the Wesley Foundation to participate as well.
We might work with our hands to repair buildings and serve food, and then hold hands and build relationships with people who have lost hope. We might assist in the Health Clinic, mentor children, work in a garden, teach the Bible or sing songs.
Please consider my proposal and whether this would be a meaningful weekend for you. Watch for details as we get closer.