Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 2

February 1, 2017

February can be a cold and snowy month. Despite its being the shortest month of the year, more snow falls and accumulates in February than any other month! Unless you are going skiing or snowboarding, that’s a dreary thought. But February is also supposed to be a warm month, the month we celebrate the warmth of love, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day, or more formally Saint Valentine’s Day, has evolved over the years from a traditional feast day celebrating the life of the martyred St. Valentine to a day of romance, roses, and chocolate. But, it wasn’t always that way.

Saint Valentine may have been as many as three different people active in the life of the early church. While all expressed love, none was particularly known for romantic love or in Greek “eros” love. Instead, they were known for serving the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the outcast. They were known for taking risks to do what was right for others despite the danger. Each was ultimately put to death for following the will of God rather than the laws of man.

Let love guide your lifeToday, we call the kind of love the original Valentines had (again in Greek) “agape love.” This is the kind of love that every Christian is expected to have for others as expressed in the great commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

After the turmoil and hate expressed in the months leading up to and after our recent election and inauguration, we could use a large dose of agape love! We seem to be in a vicious cycle playing a nasty game of “can you top this?” in the form of ugly and unkind name calling.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” What a challenge! Let’s make February our month of love, a month of love like that expressed in 1 Corinthians 13: love that is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. May we love with an agape love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Remember, in this world it may not be easy to deal with others, but acting hateful is always sinful and against God’s will. Devote February to practicing Christian faith in love rather than creating more problems by hatred. The world may not notice, but God will.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jim

Previous Callers

May 1, 2017

A few weeks ago, as the first service was ending and people were saying their hellos and goodbyes at the door to Wesley Hall, I was handed a prayer card.  The card had obviously been filled out by a young child.  Under the “Joys and Thanksgivings” section the child had written, “I love you God.”  Well, actually it read, “I love you Gob,” but I assumed the “d” was written backwards as children sometimes do.  There we also names written under the “Concerns” section and the child included their name along with the name of a sibling.

At the second service, two children listened to the words of our opening hymn and took them seriously.  The hymn was Lord of the Dance and the children danced.  In that same service I began the children’s moment by asking, “How do we send a message to Jesus?”  Without hesitation the answer came, “Pray.”  Well, I guess I didn’t need to teach that message to the kids!


April 1, 2017

I believe in . . . the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

- Excerpts from The Apostles’ Creed

Wow, what a statement! The last line of The Apostles’ Creed is a powerful statement of faith. Faith, mind you, just faith. There is no absolute proof that such a statement is true. We do not have faithful individuals from the ancient past who have returned to earth today to witness the truth of life everlasting. All we have is the collected writings of the early church leaders, testimony from believers, and maybe our own unexplainable spiritual or mystic encounters.


March 1, 2017

In Jeopardy style, the answer is, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” And the question is, “Why doesn’t fasting make a lasting difference in most people’s spiritual life?”

During the 40 days of Lent, it is a tradition to give up something for the season. Sometimes it is a food item we enjoy, but blame for our weight problem, so we claim to give up chocolate, or pie, or cake as a spiritual discipline, when we really want to lose weight. At times we try to use Lent to work on breaking a bad habit by pledging to give up something like swearing, cigarettes, or road rage for the season, in the hope it will last beyond the few weeks of Lent. But the reality is it doesn’t really work! Usually we are back to our familiar behaviors well before the Lenten season is complete. Why? Because our spiritual life, like nature, abhors a vacuum!


February 1, 2017

February can be a cold and snowy month. Despite its being the shortest month of the year, more snow falls and accumulates in February than any other month! Unless you are going skiing or snowboarding, that’s a dreary thought. But February is also supposed to be a warm month, the month we celebrate the warmth of love, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day, or more formally Saint Valentine’s Day, has evolved over the years from a traditional feast day celebrating the life of the martyred St. Valentine to a day of romance, roses, and chocolate. But, it wasn’t always that way.

Saint Valentine may have been as many as three different people active in the life of the early church. While all expressed love, none was particularly known for romantic love or in Greek “eros” love. Instead, they were known for serving the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the outcast.