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The United Baptist Church

7100 Columbia Pike | Annandale, VA 22003

Ph: 703.256.5900

Hours: Drop in, M-Th 9 am - 1 pm; or by Appointment, M-F: 9 am-3 pm

Kairos Moments . . .

Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer 

November 1, 2022

Welcome to November and 70 degree temperatures! If you’re like me, I am thrilled for “St. Martin’s summer”, a period of warm weather in early November. It got cold way too fast this year, but our heat is working well now. October was filled with hurricanes, destruction, contrasted with the beauty of bright colored leaves, the Annandale CROP Walk for hunger, smells of fireplaces burning (at least in my neighborhood), a rainy Halloween, Bible studies of Ruth and Nehemiah, and recovery from COVID for your pastor -- the irony of Pastor Appreciation Month, huh!?!

November is a month of gratitude, and I am ready for that! Being isolated for 10 days is what some of you went through the last couple years, and it was no fun; I feel like I’m part of a club now—a COVID survivor! I am so grateful for my current health, and the cards, texts, and calls to check in on me. I am also grateful for our competent staff and church leaders who stepped right into place October 23rd to lead a wonderful worship and council meeting. I am grateful for physical things we take for granted: the ADL’s (activities of daily living), like mobility, hygiene, nutrition, being able to get healthy groceries delivered safely, being able to afford fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods, sleep, medicine, time to rest, snuggly cats (my ace medical team!), a strong immune system, and life itself! This Thanksgiving has new purpose to appreciate caregivers, nurses, PT/OT folks, doctors, and staff members at Rehabs, Hospitals, other medical facilities. Thank you all for your training, your calling, and your work!

The relational bonds between Ruth and Naomi reveal the extraordinary lineage of grace and sacrificial love in the ordinariness of “gleaning,” gathering grain with which to make bread. Their survival story is more than that; it reflects lives that will flourish through their kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. Nehemiah’s goal of re-building the wall around Jerusalem is another extraordinary task brought to life in 52 days despite local bullies and detractors. The “people had a mind to work” and were willing to defend their efforts as well. The collaboration with God to achieve their goal came through prayer, effort, faith, and divine intervention. “20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us! (Neh. 4:20).” We must be careful not to take these words out of context, as some zealots do for selfish motives. God created us with minds, intelligence, open hearts, and free will. Please make thoughtful, informed, and prayerful decisions as you vote November 8th in local elections. Honesty, character, excellence, and accurate information are ways to protect our rights to Religious Liberty, another extraordinary Baptist Freedom for which we must be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving! 

October 4, 2022

Happy Autumn! While this is usually my favorite time of year, the hurricanes, clouds, rains, and cold temperatures have ‘dampened’ peoples’ spirits! Ok, too much time with the Potters and their wonderful puns. In any case, we do raise our prayers and love to those folks in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Florida, and North and South Carolina who lost lives and property from Hurricane Ian. Be cautious about how you choose to donate to assist with recovery efforts. Our denomination committed Disaster Teams IRL (in real life) and has created online donation portals that will directly serve needs – CBF, and BGAV and CWS/CROP walk. Dishonest Scam fundraisers are popping up already. Check with the office or a church leader if you’re not sure.

We have been praying hard this fall for the condition of our world, its leaders, and its people. We remembered 9/11 which fell on Sunday this year at the same time Great Britain was grieving the loss of her queen. Then hurricane Fiona ravaged the Caribbean and Canada, before Ian hit a week later. And yes, the violence on our streets continues, while the stock market remains volatile. People who do not know God personally wring their hands in fear and frustration; we who know and live for Christ may wring our hands too, but we first get on our knees in humility for all the good In our world and lives. We also have a sense of community to help weather these storms, literal or figurative. Bobby Joe and Patsy Small are Godly examples of faith, trusting him, humility, and gratitude. We sent a little food and prayers their way, and received 15 or so thank you notes on napkins or whatever paper he had available at the hospital. This family recovered well, and send their love to the congregation and friends.

Our last parable from the summer was from Luke 5:36: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” Have you ever loved a piece of clothing so much (either the style or broken-in feel of it, or the soft touch of an old college sweatshirt), and just couldn’t give it up? Or have you ever tried to patch over a hole, a stain, or a tear in those favorite jeans? I admit to owning a few “loved-to-death” garments, and made my mistakes using a brand new patch. After the first washing, it destroyed the garment I loved. The Kingdom Jesus shares is brand new cloth and cannot be attached to cover a flaw in old systems; rather, he brings to us a whole new existence! John the Baptist had his purpose to patch up the old system and to prepare folks to meet Jesus; but now the Messiah is here, and his purpose is not to mend the old systems or humans with new patches (or new wine), but he offers us spiritual healing through total metamorphosis! Let us live this new life in a new way with the new cloth that Christ has given us! This last 2022 quarter, please listen for the work, but also watch for the extraordinary in the ordinary messes of life. You will be encouraged and amazed at Christ’s presence and beauty. 

September 6, 2022

Happy September! School is back in session, so please be careful out there driving. The highlight of my August was our Adult Vacation Bible School! We had 3 days, 3 hours, Bible Study (old/new wineskins, sand/rocky soil for building, and sorting good/bad fish in the net), Lunch Fellowship, Music and Arts! Thank you to all 9 who attended uncertain of the format or activities! Martha Lowe gets a shout out for bringing her friend, Carol, whose presence we enjoyed immensely (she has another wonderful church home, but we all made a new friend in Annandale!) As you read in the promotion materials, this was a (now successful) experiment and template for cool summer fun that we will promote to the neighborhood and other churches’ Senior Adults next year! We have more photos on the church Facebook page. I welcome feedback.

We are commanded to share our faith, through actions and hospitality. Did you know that the word hospitality means “love of a stranger”? This is a UBC strength, but are we following Christ’s teachings? We must not jockey for the best seat, as the disciples did in Luke 14:7-14. Instead, take the lowest seat at the table. Our host, God, decides who sits where; the proud will be humbled, and the humble will be honored in His Kingdom. Jesus calls us to invite all to His table: the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. Do we, or do we only invite those of status or importance, or those who are already friends? We had some tough sermon lessons this past month, finishing up the parables and finding some in the Old Testament: Abraham’s Three Visitors (Gen 18:1-7), the Midnight Caller (Lk 11:5-13), the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:28-37), The Rich Fool (Lk 12:13-21, Cain’s jealousy (Gen 4:1-6), Solomon’s warning (2 Chronicles 7:11-22), and the Pharisee/Tax Collector praying (Lk 18:9-14). You can read my sermons on the webpage under “Services” or at this link or just look up the passages, and I’d love to hear from you to discuss.

We held a bittersweet goodbye to Agnes Lewis in a Celebration of Life service with lunch, so we met some of her family, who were of course a delight! Our music team and congregants honored her well. The Lord’s Prayer, her favorite, was spoken and played. I thank our new ABBE Men’s team for making the grounds more beautiful to visitors (ask me). We miss you all here

August 2, 2022

This summer has gone too fast! I cannot believe it’s already August, yet it is. School starts very soon; in fact, David Evans goes back to his school to prep on August 11th! I hope you have all had valuable and refreshing vacation time. For you retirees, it’s still important to “get out of Dodge” occasionally! [Dodge City came from the 1950’s radio serial called Gunsmoke, and then moved to TV, running until the mid-1970s. The fictional lawman on the series, Marshal Dillon, was known for telling bad men to move on, or get out of Dodge. It’s a cliché, not that we must go!]. God rewards our “work” with Sabbath rest. If you did or will travel soon, our prayers go with you for enough pilots, crew, flights, and baggage handlers!

In July and August, we continue our parables study with the farmer scattering seed (the Sower), the wheat and weeds (tares in KJV), the Mustard Seed, and a Little Yeast (or leaven). This week is the Wedding Banquet and the following is the Good Samaritan. Because these are so familiar, it is easy to go a bit deeper in the meaning and application to our lives. I hope you’ve been enjoying the creative imagery Jesus used to instruct his disciples and perplex the crowds and religious leaders. The homework to re-read them, speak the words aloud, imagine the characters in a play, look at artwork (some used on bulletins), journal your thoughts, and use prayer tools to ponder them should help bring them to life! We are such an entertainment culture that simple Scripture reading may not excite us, so please try these options.

The other point of this series is to use such stories to help us “Listen for the Work” that Jesus is calling us to do. That reflection time is working because good things are happening all around our church and Mission Center. A new team has been beautifying the grounds at their own initiative (beyond the standard contract we have); we have had deep meaningful conversations at our social gatherings; we are seeing an occasional visitor (once again since pandemic); we have a new Mission Center partner in FACETS (see page 3); Zion Medical is growing and willing to collaborate in their health area; Amerikids is thriving; Gideons and Shepherd’s Center Annandale-Springfield are back; and our relationship with New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church is deepening. The former metrics of people in the pews on Sunday do not apply to church “success” anymore. Metrics have changed as we transform through service, outreach, lives influenced, stories heard, stories told, hearts opened, opportunities for growth granted, disciples commissioned, and gifts given. These are new measurements we use to determine our church’s “growth” or “success.” We are trying to live like Jesus, and it is a process of engagement and transformation. Will you tell us a parable, or tell others your story? 

Blog postings:

Kairos (καιρός) is Greek for “opportune time,” where God may break in to our circumstances, and we then can reflect on the purpose of His in-breaking. I think of it as the Holy Spirit nudging me toward an “AHA!” moment. “Kairos Moments” will be the title of this regular article, so that observations, reflections, questions and theology can be examined for action.

These articles will be displayed for 4 months. If you are interested in previous articles, please contact our office. The first 3 pages of the newsletter are at the bottom of "Our Message", and on our home page. The members' prayer list is not included due to confidentiality. Call the office if you have an update or a concern.