When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me…”
Exodus 32:1-2 (NRSV)
I remember seeing a commercial when I was eight years old that blew my mind. Thanks to the power of YouTube, I can share it with you now. Behold, the Power Glove. I thought this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, especially after it left Fred Savage speechless in The Wizard. The movie’s villain pulls his Power Glove out of a special case after bragging about the 97 games he owns, demonstrates some pretty mediocre driving skills, then says “I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad.”
Inevitably, one of the neighborhood kids actually got one. I was so excited to ride over to his house after school and, sure enough, there it was, an actual Power Glove. We fought over who got to take a turn first (I lost) and then, within a few minutes, our excitement waned. The thing about the Power Glove is that it didn’t really work, and when it did, it wasn’t really all that much fun. I’d wasted lots of time wanting this thing only to discover, in the end, it wasn’t worth my interest.
Idolatry is an ever-present challenge to our growth as disciples of Jesus Christ. We may choose to define idolatry narrowly enough that it doesn’t really touch us… no one in our church is approaching me to ask for an object to worship, after all, so maybe we are doing OK. However, this narrow view misses the everyday idols all around us.
In rereading this passage of Exodus this morning, I was struck again by the speed with which the idolatry impulse spread through the community. The people say, look, we don’t know what happened to Moses, but you’re here and this is what we need. As a leader of a church, I’m struck by how quickly Aaron seems to go along with the plan.
Whenever people look to me to provide them with a decision, a solution, a judgment, an interpretation of events, really, anything, there is always the temptation to just give them what they want. What’s the harm in that, after all? Life is hard, people are frightened, what’s wrong with a little security, the sort of gods we can make and hold in our hands? So what if someone seems way too into a particular vision for their life that doesn’t seem likely to come to pass… so what if someone’s rational mind is completely lost in loyalty to a politician or ideology. No one’s perfect, right?
The challenge of idolatry is that it can creep in little by little until we find ourselves turned all the way around, forgetting who we are and the Lord who claims us as God’s own. Take a moment this morning to prayerfully search your heart. Is there anything demanding too much of your time, attention, or loyalty, anything which seems to be pulling you away from the whole and blessed life God desires for you? If so, maybe it’s time to breathe in deeply of the grace and presence of God to better move toward the future God dreams for you.
Grace and Peace,
Learn About Annual Conference 2020
Our postponed annual meeting to ordain clergy and approve legislation took place virtually on Monday and Tuesday of this week. You can view each session in its entirety at the link below, as well as shorter clips and highlights.
Annual Charge Conference Completed
For those who have been around for a while, you may be wondering where the charge conference “books” are. Historically, we printed off a couple dozen thick bound copies containing all the gathered reports as well as a membership directory. Over the last few years, the Annual Conference has been asking for streamlined and simplified reporting from each church, and so those books grew slimmer. This year, we did not produce one at all. However, if you would like a copy of the submitted reports for yourself, please e-mail Gretchen who can print and provide you with those.
For 2021 and continuing each year thereafter, we will put together a report for our own purposes with more of a narrative focus on what we have been up to as a church that year. The reporting requirements changed, but the need for a record and the opportunity to communicate a vision remains necessary for us here.
Resuming Confirmation Class and Christian Education Update
We will have our first week of Confirmation class this Sunday after worship beginning at approximately 11:30am. After this class concludes this winter, we will begin planning for the next cohort for students currently in grades 4-6 to begin in 2022-23. Additionally, we will also be discussing what youth ministries will look like here at FUMC for these Confirmands and the generations to come. Pray and stay tuned!
Continuing Coffee Hour Over Zoom
Laura Newton has thankfully stepped up to host a weekly time of conversation and connection after the conclusion of our worship service each week. Here is a link to that time –
If you have questions or need help, you can ask Pastor Ben or Laura. Don’t be shy, you are missed and a part of this church family, too!
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.