A Weekly Newsletter
Thought for the Week
"At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language." - Genesis 11:1 (The Message)
The Lectionary passages for this week are all about language. The primary text is the story of Pentecost but the secondary passage is this interesting little story in Genesis. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Tower of Babel, but just in case you aren't:
At this point in the Genesis story, Noah, his family, and the animals have survived the flood and have begun to repopulate the Earth. In between Noah and the next Patriarch, Abraham, we have this little vignette. "At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language", the narrator tells us. They all got to talking one day and someone said "Come, let's build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let's make ourselves famous so we won't be scattered here and there across the Earth." Everyone agrees that that sounded like a reasonable idea so they got started. Meanwhile, God came by and "took one look and said, "One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they'll come up with next - they'll stop at nothing! Come, we'll go down and garble their speech so they won't understand each other." Because God created more languages, the people found themselves unable to communicate and, subsequently, unable to work together so the project was abandoned and they scattered across the world.
Later, in Acts, the opposite happens. The disciples had gathered together when suddenly the Holy Spirit descended on them with the sound of a fierce wind and, suddenly, they were able to speak in a number of different languages. The people around were confused - "Why can hearing them speaking our own language?!" - and they tried to brush them off until Peter explains what is happening.
These stories have been interpreted six ways from Sunday and they speak to different people in different ways, but I found these texts particularly stirring in our current social and political location in history. We've been listening to candidates, commentators, and pundits talk for the past year (give or take) about the next Presidential election, dissect each of the candidates, and analyze every faux pas made while on the campaign trail. Chances are, all of those individuals were speaking a language you, technically, understand but how much of it do we really hear? I know I automatically mute the television when ANY political commercial comes on. I'm so tired of hearing them, even though I probably couldn't tell you what they actually say.
This is true in our personal lives as well. Sometimes it feels like we're playing a long game of Whisper Down the Lane. You say something to someone and think you were pretty clear, but they hear something different or lose something in the retelling. Soon enough you are all confused and, maybe, a little mad.
Scripture tells us that even when we can speak the same language and understand each other perfectly, we still make goofy choices. The last time that happened, we tried to build a tower to Heaven. (And I have to wonder: what exactly were they planning to do once they arrived there? We're they just checking in to say hello or what?)
I am certainly not arguing that cooperating with and listening to one another is a bad thing - it is definitely not! However, it is clear that, even when we're all in agreement, we sometimes make bad choices. We don't have to look too far back in history to find examples of this. For two hundred years or more the ruling majority in this country were in solid agreement that people of color should be treated in a dramatically different way than their Caucasian peers. I think we can all safely agree that, in this case and cases like it, we should have been listening to the other voices in that conversation.
The stories of Babel and Pentecost remind us to listen to the voices around us. We should be active listeners so we can identify good ideas and bad ideas. We shouldn't brush people aside because we don't understand them on the first try. It is hard to learn to listen, but if we don't try, we might miss something incredible!
All relationships - with people or with God - require you to listen carefully and to, sometimes, listen more than you talk. How else do you truly get to know someone?
This Sunday, when you wear your Pentecost red, I hope it reminds you to use your ears to serve God and one another! A listening ear is a underrated blessing and a deep relief.
Sunday Morning Schedule - Pentacost
- Middle School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Youth Room)
- High School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Dale Hall Classroom)
- Contemporary Worship, 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
Sunday Evening Schedule
- Middle School Youth Group, 5:00 PM (Youth Room)
- High School Praise Team, 5:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- Middle School Praise Team, 6:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- High School Youth Group, 7:00 PM (Youth Room)
Wednesday Evening Schedule
- VBS Craft Gathering, 7:00 PM (Youth Room)
VBS Wednesday Nights
Our Vacation Bible School Coordinator – Pam Orr – would like to invite you all to join the children of MPC on Wednesday nights in May (7:00 – 8:00 PM) to begin working on VBS crafts! They will meet downstairs and will have several projects to work on.
VBS is a special time for MPC – it is a huge outreach event to our community and the youth are always a very important part of that week! So, come and join the Children’s Ministry Team for crafts and fellowship to prepare for this summer event!
End of the Year Celebration
We're almost at the end of the school year which means we'll be gathering together to celebrate!
On Sunday, May 29, the church switches into summer mode with only one worship time! This means that Sunday School and Youth Group will end for the year on Sunday, May 22nd.
Instead of having our typical Youth Group on Sunday nights, we'll gather at the Sharbaugh's house (check your email this week for the address!) from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM for dinner and fellowship! We're going to try our hand at Geocaching, so wear comfortable shoes and clothes!
This is a combined event for Middle and High School, so we hope you'll join us!
We'll provide the main course if you'll bring the extras!
Last Names beginning with
- A - I bring drinks!
- J - Q bring snacks (chips, veggies)!
- R - Z bring something for dessert!
This summer we'll be gathering for fun and fellowship with a repeat of the popular "Staycation" events! Come to as many events as you can, when you can!
We're going to have a mix of events with various prices (MANY - if not most - will be FREE!). Keep an eye out for the calendar in the next few weeks!
Youth Program of Media Presbyterian Church
The Youth Ministry programs at MPC has long been a place that welcomes teenagers to embrace their questions and their struggles with faith in a healthy and safe environment.
The Youth Program is led by Ms. Liz Remelius, Director of Youth Ministries. Liz nurtures a deep love of education and believes that there is "a divine beauty in learning." She hopes that anyone who participates in MPC's Youth Ministry will be equipped to ask questions, search for answers, and turn that knowledge into action, both in the Church and the world.