Reflections from Pastor Jennifer
For the month of September, please consider donating a ball or a doll for the shoeboxes. Either of these items must be small enough to fit into a shoebox. If you purchase a full-sized ball, please deflate it and include an air pump. Shoeboxes and shipping costs are also helpful donations.
Sunday, October 1st will be First Sunday Meal and 2024 planning session. Food will be provided, so all you need to bring are your ideas. There will be timers set in order to be respectful of time, but please do allow for extra time on this Sunday.
Help for the Homeless
In last week's newsletter, a list was included of the items needed for the homeless bags. You can also find the paper list in the vestibule. Please bring your donations within the next few weeks, as we are planning a ministry outing on October 17th. You are also welcome to donate cash in the offering. Please mark your envelope accordingly.
Help for the Homeless
Smyrna: A Church Suffering
Have you ever regretted scrolling through your social media feed? While everyone seems to be enjoying their storybook lives, do you wonder why your life is a nightmare? I imagine we have all been there once or twice. And I imagine the Church in Smyrna may have understood how this felt.
Smyrna was considered to be the most beautiful city in Asia Minor. The ornament of Asia, the crown of Asia, and the flower of Asia were its rightful nicknames. A grand city on the Aegean Sea, it possessed the safest harbor in Anatolia, and was covered by rolling foothills with temples and buildings on top. Its streets were broad and paved with well-cut stone. It even had an exquisite public library, a stadium, and an Odeon for music and theater. Smyrna was the birthplace of the Greek poet Homer. It was well-known as a learning center for science and medicine, known for its beauty, education, culture, and the arts.
The name Smyrna (also Smyrna in Greek) means “bitter” because myrrh was its chief export. It served as a prophetic label for the Christians. Times had become harsh. The Jews living in Smyrna had become hostile toward them because they had been making converts of Jews. The Jews wanted to put a stop to this, so they ganged up with the Romans and a persecution against the Christians began. While the rest of the Smyrnaeans were enjoying the sweet life in Smyrna, the Christians were looking to God to save their lives.
It’s ironic that the worst persecution was taking place in the most beautiful city. That seems to encapsulate suffering: when it happens to us, it seems like everyone else is going about their wonderful lives. Part of the pain of suffering is having no one else to suffer with. This either forces us to quit or makes us look to God. Fortunately, the believers in Smyrna didn’t pay attention to or compare themselves with everyone else is Smyrna. Instead, they looked to Jesus and conquered the suffering.
If we want to conquer suffering, we too, must look to Jesus. And this means spending less time focused on how “good” everyone else seems to have it. Why not spend more time in the Word today and less time on social sites? Doing this will help you recognize God’s grace at work in your life and will give you the peace and joy you need to overcome this time of difficulty.