First United Methodist Church

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News & Devotions

Devotion from Arnetta Rodgers, our Gracious Host Pillar Leader (Oct. 27)

“Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place…” words to a beautiful hymn written by Lanny Wolfe.*

Have those words spoken to your heart at certain times, in particular places or situations?

They often speak to mine…

In Early Risers, a Women’s Bible study at our church, we are currently studying the book of Galatians. Clair Fournier leads us in a rich exploration and discussion of important ideas and concepts. Recent discussions have focused on “law” and “faith”. Through sharing, we are reminded of our personal difficulties in obeying God’s Laws – those outlines in the Ten Commandments as well as others – but reminded of God’s faithfulness, nonetheless, in keeping His promise of never abandoning us. We are further reminded that we are ONE family that God does not see race or color. “Surely, the Presence of the Lord is in This Place…”

A few evenings ago, I participated in a discussion, sponsored by our church, on the film, “13th” based upon the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The film deals with the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration. The discussion was led by Barbara Thompson, UCF Associate Director of Diversity & Inclusion, and Tonya Tolson, FUMCWP Diversity Chair. Attended by both members of our church and community, the evening was rich and rewarding as we shared and discussed observations and experiences related to the perpetuation of institutionalized racism within our society and how we might personally address and challenge current systems. Black and White all having an equal place at the table – listening with civil conversations – we were one in wanting to affect the systems of equality for all. “Surely, the Presence of the Lord is in This Place… I can feel His mighty Power and His Grace…” My heart was warmed and encouraged, my spirit was lifted.

The recent sermon series “Organic: Fruit of the Spirit” and the participation by member sharing personal thoughts and reflections present many challenges to walk with God by living more fully in Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Patience, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self Control. “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place…”

Would that I seek and continue to find opportunities for my heart to rejoice and sing these words and that they spur me to action to do my part to effect “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven“.

*United Methodist Hymnail, p. 328