Hello, FELLOWSHIP UMC
The Gift of Remembrance
#1. Romans 16: 1–10 “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, 2 so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, 4 and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.”
#2. 1 Corinthians 11: 23—26
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The Epistle to the Romans began by defining and describing sin. Sin’s consequence was judgement and the result of which was death. Our sin debt could only be paid for by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He shed His perfect precious blood on our behalf as payment for our sin debt. Then we are instructed how to live as a Christian. Satan no longer has dominion over us. We belong to Jesus who bought us with His own blood. Next, we learn how to relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Finally, we see the men and women who influenced Paul’s life in Rome. It reminds us that ministry takes a team of committed believers, each doing their part, to see men and women come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.
Twenty-nine (29) people are mentioned by Apostle Paul in Romans 16:1-16, with twenty-eight based in Rome. Let us take a moment to read some of these names: Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Andronicus, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Junias, Apelles and Stachys. We may not be able to pronounce all names correctly and we wonder who were they, what did they do and why their names are in the Bible? Surely this passage is not a dry list of names. Rather, it gives insight into the church in Rome and it reveals Paul’s esteem and regard for some of the believers there. Paul comments on the faith of a few of these people, on his relationships with some, and on some of their work and ministries.
Of the twenty-nine people, ten are women. Very amazingly that seven of the ten women are described in terms of their ministry (Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis), and two of these women are ministering alongside their husband with submissive attitude (Aquila with Priscilla, Andronicus with Junia).
Paul emphasizes that these people are in partnership with him spreading the Gospel of Jesus and establish God’s kingdom on earth. They work hard and work very hard in the Lord, some of them even risk their life to protect and defend Paul.
These are the people worth remembering. God knows each one of them (“But the man who loves God is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8: 3), He remembers them and puts their name in the Book of Life. We should learn about these people’s ministries and imitate their faith.
As for Memorial Day weekend, by tradition, all across our beautiful land, Americans hosted ceremonies and parades honoring America’s heroes who have passed on—those men and women who have given that “last full measure of devotion” to protect our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. Unfortunately, as we have celebrated the holiday that announces the end of the school year and is the harbinger of the summer to come, too often the reason for the Memorial Day holiday gets somewhat obscured by the picnics, cookouts, travels and family gatherings. Even when we remember the day’s significance, we often too easily move on to other things until the next Memorial Day. For those who have lost loved ones, however, the pain, the loss, and the memory are still there.
Let us pause for a moment more to reflect on what we owe these men and women who have died to secure and defend our freedom. Let us pray to God our Savior for forgiveness, healing, strength, comfort and peace.
I have heard it said that we are “the land of the free” because “we are the home of the brave.” In times of crisis, danger and pandemic, we have always found men and women willing to step forward and do the duty by making sacrifices, even the ultimate sacrifice.
These are the people worth remembering, and we ought to remember their families too. Before we celebrate and say a goodbye to Memorial Day for another year, let’s give one more time our Gratitude to our beloved heroes (died in wars and in service fighting this pandemic, etc.) And let’s also remember to say thank you to all of their families for their sacrifice and their service. Amen.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord our Savior,
We thank you for our beautiful country, for the wonderful people who serve and work in all areas; thank you for those who make ultimate sacrifice to preserve our Freedom; we pray for those heroes’ families, may your presence, saving grace, healing comfort and love with inner peace be with all of them.
We pray for our country and all leaders and those who serve, we pray for President Trump and his family, Vice President Pence and his family, for your protection, wisdom, strength and guidance.
We pray for your healing, good insight and wisdom as we are preparing for reopening of our church and resume Sunday worship service. Help us to stay focused on Lord Jesus and His word, so that we will not be led astray and got frightened by the overwhelming storms of life and of the world. May your will be done in each of us and our church family. Strengthen and guide us so that we are able to serve you and be the light tower for this community.
In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
Our prayers are lifted for:
Judy Davis; Dan (Jim’s nephew); Joan Garland; Martha & Dave Glassy; Joan Hassell; Charles Harden; Betty Howell; Crystal (Nancy’s daughter); Sheila Levine; Angela Rose; Frank Seal; Ann Smith; Russell Scheibel; USAF and our Nation