After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10 (NRSV)
I’m looking out my front window at a maple tree. Through the Spring and Summer it’s a nondescript healthy tree. It offers a nice spot of shade in the afternoon and a little extra privacy from passing traffic without drawing too much attention to itself. It’s a model citizen doing its part in this town of many great trees.
It’s just an ordinary tree, until it’s not. Each October it sets itself on colorful fire. Its leaves glow orange with internal illumination. Local photographers snap pictures of this tree and I see our front yard and porch pop up on local social media. Neighbors ask if they can take their fall family photos in front of it. Strangers walking on the sidewalk stop to tell me it’s the most beautiful tree in town.
Then, by Halloween, it’s dumped all that color onto the ground. On this wet, foggy morning only a handful of leaves are hanging onto its branches. It is, again, an unassuming tree ready for the winter. Still, it carries its secret gift ready to burn brightly again next fall.
This Sunday in worship we will celebrate All Saints Day. We remember both those who have died recently and those long gone. They all still visit us in sometimes too-vivid waking and sleeping memories, these people we pray to meet, see, touch, and hug again in the world to come. We do so in this particular year where the term “excess mortality” seems an all-too-cold way of acknowledging that we’ve endured an extra portion of dying so far and, it seems, there is more to come as the leaves fall and the winter closes in.
We confront these challenges with the strength of our faith and the strength of our community. Death is an inevitability, but we can sure burn brightly as we go. Find a way to comfort someone in mourning (maybe yourself?) this morning. Remember to set your clocks back Sunday and come prepared to worship with a piece of bread and something to drink to celebrate Communion together.
Grace and Peace,
Communion Sunday This Week (Sunday, Nov. 1)
We will again celebrate the sacrament together, whether at home or in person. Please bring your own elements to be consecrated where you sit during the service. If you arrive without bread, we will have individually bagged supplies on the back table for you.
“Courageous Conversations” Continue at Flemington UMC
We will continue our monthly dialogues on race, racism, and how we can put our faith into action to be agents of change and healing in this world. Why does America comprise only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its incarcerated population? Please read the 7th chapter of “America’s Original Sin” and prepare to attend one of two meetings, one in person Sunday, November 1 following worship, and one over Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 2:00pm. To attend the Zoom please use this link:
Meeting ID: 822 2341 6896
If you’d like to get a sense of what this is all about, listen to “From Prison to Pulpit,” one man’s testimony of his experience from incarceration into new life:
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
We will not be collecting items for Samaritan’s Purse this year. HOWEVER, we are still collecting monetary donations. Please make checks payable to SAMARITAN’S PURSE. You may mail or drop off your check to the church or to Judy Gordley, 37 Elwood Ave, Flemington, NJ. You may also mail directly to Samaritan’s Purse. If you do this, please let us know that you donated so that we may report our total gifts as a church family.
We also have leaflets and boxes available if you would like to fill your own. Please contact the church office or Judy (908-391-2646). Collection week is NOVEMBER 16-23.
Family Promise is Hiring
Family Promise, Hunterdon County’s only agency dedicated to providing temporary housing to homeless families, is hiring four positions, one for a part-time Case Manager and three full-time Residential Aides. If interested or if you know someone who would be, please send resumes to email@example.com.
Continuing Coffee Hour Over Zoom
Quick note – we are looking for another volunteer to host the Zoom on Sunday, November 1. If you’re interested, please let Pastor Ben know.
Worship with Flemington UMC on Facebook
Each Sunday at 10:30am, reach for your phone, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected device for a time of music, prayer, scripture, and preaching. Watching live gives the opportunity to comment in real-time with prayer requests, updates on your life, and more, but if you view the service later you can still comment and share prayer requests and experiences from your life with your church.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can simply visit the church’s Facebook page:
The videos are all accessible there without the need to create an account or login. If you have technical questions, please reach out.