The United Baptist Church
Kairos Moments . . .
Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer
May 3, 2022
Happy Mother’s Day! to moms, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, step-moms, women who long to be mothers, women who lost a child, might be facing infertility, have strained relationships with their mothers, caregivers, and all women who are nurturers and share their love with others. We will honor you this Sunday!
With continuing heartbreaking news of Ukraine and Eastern Europe, it has been a challenging few months. At UBC, we were able to give some financial aid through our mission partners (see front page), and of course, we are praying fervently for God’s intercession and peace. I was moved by Good Friday’s reading, where Jesus told the grieving women followers: “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children (Luke 23:28).” It is hard not to be anxious, but we must trust our lives to the Lord. Matthew 6:34 GNT reminds us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own, but he does not say sit there and be passive! Christ teaches action, not complacency, as we learned through our James study. So keep praying, listen for the work, and act where you can. We are blessed beyond measure.
It was an eventful April with Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter services focused on Jesus’ preparation, crucifixion, and resurrection (Allelujiah, He is Risen!). We had special music thanks to our team plus Jeff Snavely’s beautiful clarinet! We are also grateful to our Gospel music Sunday with talented friends Pat, Rob, Chet, and Eva Lee. Even in those times of joy, doubt and fear can creep into our minds. Reassurance came to the disciples through Christ’s many appearances; if we put ourselves in their places, we have much to consider. Use your imagination to read John 21:1-14 about having breakfast with Jesus! What would you ask him? Or tell him? Would you serve or be served? Have we forgotten the Easter story already? Is it only a week of time, or will we be Easter people all year long? Will we overcome fear or terror by seeing and feeling the Risen Christ and his words, spirit, and breath within us? Visit us Sundays to refuel and reconsider our spiritual selves. You are welcomed here! Come as you are.
April 5, 2022
It is hard to say my usual “Happy Spring” when we see what is happening to fellow human beings in the Ukraine region. Killing and especially the recent atrocities bring nightmares to adults and children alike. These brutalities are not acceptable, even though humans have been violent since the beginning of time. Please continue to pray for God’s intervention of peace.
This Lenten season has challenged us all, as I have preached this month on compassion, loving neighbor, unifying beliefs and practices (action, not just words), and confession. The solace for many of us, I hope, has been in learning and re-learning new prayer tools: silence, breath prayers, Scripture praying, Quaker hands down, hands up prayers, prayer walking, and prayer journaling. John 4:8 reminds us to: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Lent and Easter are good times to start or re-set new healthy spiritual rhythms and habits.
The whole world is looking for healing right now. As Christ-followers, we are new creations through him, and can share his love and forgiveness with others who desperately need it. What a good time to ask your neighbor or a family member to reconnect with God! Even if it is not at church, but through you! Personal relationships and life experiences are the Gospel. Share your stories; your love, compassion, and generosity. Be a disciple; and talk to me about it. May God bless you this season and every day.
March 1. 2022
May God bless and protect the courageous citizens of Ukraine! We are heartbroken at the news reports of more violent agression and lost lives. We are uplifted by the messages and actions of these people who choose democracy and freedom over tyranny. We might also be frustrated perhaps that we personally cannot intervene.
However, we do participate in larger organizations that have been helping and will continue to do so. I posted on our United Baptist Church Facebook page videos from Baptist World Alliance leaders involved with Eastern European Baptists assisting with humanitarian aid. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship just this week established a Ukraine Relief Fund. The Baptist General Association of Virginia calls for prayer vigils for peace and is sending funds through the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development. Give as you are able and called so to give. The surrounding countries’ merciful hospitality and the Ukrainians’ heroic measures encourage our faith in humanity and God. The photos of separating parents and children shake us to our core, yet the people helping one another in sacrificial ways points us to Jesus. Senior Minister Emeritus, Dr. Wayne Yawn, said today, the world’s response is an instance where the “church beyond the church” can be witnessed! Please keep praying that PEACE will prevail. This is when we must remember that Jesus can and does intercede for his believers and the innocent.
In addition to our consistent prayers for Ukraine, on Sundays, we have been studying the Petrine letters and James (Faith that Works), while learning new prayer tools: “Listening for the Work.” When I began this year’s theme, my focus was local; however, God is directing our work, not me. So, as a congregation and broader church community, please continue to listen for his voice with discernment about how we can best serve our fellow human beings, whereever the need is.
Our two churches, New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church and The United Baptist Church worshipped together this past week to honor and recognize Black History Month, less well known African American leaders, Black scholars, medical professionals, practitioners, and the wellness community (midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, doulas, etc.). Despite differences in heritage, appearance, or cultural preferences, we have a spiritual oneness that comes from Jesus Christ. The world is watching how we believers live our lives in community. We can be a good example or a poor model of Christian unity; let Christ’s light shine through you into the world in all you do and however you serve: “ 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9 NIV).” May God show us his justice, peace, and mercy.
February 1, 2022
Happy Valentine’s Day! This past month felt a bit like January 2019, when we had snow to shovel and a Sunday cancellation. If you are like most people, you are weary of the shovelling, ice, frigid temperatures, and another snow threat this week! You are loved and intrepid congregants! Those who could came to worship and attended the Quarterly Membership Meeting; and for those whose neighborhoods were still icy, we sent out bulletins and sermons. If you cannot physically be here, but would like to receive those to stay connected, please let us know. Thanks to Caribbean Services’ efforts, both UBC & NBMBC could use the building.
COVID-19 Northern Virginia Region Level of Community Transmission is still “HIGH”, but case numbers are slowly decreasing. Please see our update on the front page. We miss you and do hope we’ll see you, safely, in the near future. Yes, the work of the body of Christ is evident outside the building by your acts of kindness, generosity, hospitality, and evangelism to your friends, neighbors, and strangers you meet. Yet it is helpful to be refueled for this work by being together each week in worship, prayer, and fellowship.
Last Sunday, we practiced silence. It was awkward for many of us, not used to the quiet. We only spent 25-30 seconds in total silence before the message, but you could hear the heat running, breathing, pews creaking, and traffic. We obviously need more than 30 seconds to train our ears, minds, and hearts to hear God’s voice! But like exercise, we must build ourselves up slowly and consistently. You may already be practicing this healthy rhythm, so please continue. If not, let us all start together; here is why:
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’ (1 Peter 1:15)
Living holy (and wholly) is to live lives set apart for God’s service yet also to live in the middle of the world’s priorities. That is never easy, but becomes more possible as we meditate on God’s Word and listen for His direction in the silence and solitude.
24 For all flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.
(1 Peter 1:24)
How will you endure the next several weeks until Lent? Until Spring? Easter? Spring Break? If we live only by the calendar or accomplishments, we are not living for the Kingdom. So, let us grow spiritually together!
Kairos (καιρός) is Greek for “opportune time,” where God may break in to our circumstances, and we then can reflect on the purpose of His in-breaking. I think of it as the Holy Spirit nudging me toward an “AHA!” moment. “Kairos Moments” will be the title of this regular article, so that observations, reflections, questions and theology can be examined for action.
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