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8.20.23 Worship Preview

This Weekend: “The Way of Christ and the Will of God” Series continues. Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and Luke 15:11-32. Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.

What is God’s Will? A few weeks ago, Pastor Christopher talked about the Doctrine of Discovery, an understanding that guided much of Western European and colonial history. It gave legal and theological grounds for seizing the land of indigenous peoples. It was only revoked by the Pope in March of this year! 2023. In the US, while the Roman Catholic church didn’t hold much sway in the early days of our Republic, the Doctrine of Discovery did – in the form of Manifest Destiny. Using the language of the Biblical conquest of the Promised Land, colonist and settlers moved west across what is now the United States, forcibly removing the indigenous peoples. Was that God’s Will? Or, as a few pastors of the time saw, did Jesus weep alongside those walking the Trail of Tears? And how does that history now affect how we see our neighbors, our kin, across the boundaries of reservation and state lines, and religious practices? Are we all related? How could we intentionally, fruitfully, and faithfully move forward as relations? As a beloved community?

I’ve been slowly reading a wonderful and very challenging book by indigenous author Patty Krawec entitled “Becoming Kin.” It was recommended by another UMC pastor about the same time the Osage Ballet was here in Fort Scott, and it has been fascinating to me how well various themes and ponderings have flowed together. I dare say it is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. How do we acknowledge and repent of past wrongs without merely repeating patterns? How do we break harmful, unjust patterns without doing harm to each other? How do we “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5) without twisting even that call to our own power and purposes. Krawec’s book offers a way forward. It is about seeing differently, retracing our steps, picking up what was lost along the way, and realizing that we are, truly, all related. For me, that is ultimately what the Bible is about too. I believe Jesus is a definitive revelation of who God is and what God wants us to be and that he calls us to humility, distributive justice, and reconciliation, rejecting the ways of violence and control. There are certainly other ways to read the Bible and the violent domination systems of human culture have certainly used the Bible to reinforce themselves, but is that God’s Will? Or a repeat of humans again eating forbidden fruit? Sunday we will continue to explore all of this through the lens of one of Jesus’ best-known parables and a repeated prayer of Paul's, answered in unexpected way. What if we lived like God’s grace was sufficient for us, and for others? What if we recognized ourselves in each of the parable's characters?

No matter where you are on your own journey of faith, you are invited to join in fellowship, worship, and celebration at 301 S. National, coming just as you are, with your questions, doubts and hopes - and to experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visit our web site at and click “New Visitors” for more information on what to expect.

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, August 16, 5:30 pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. Note: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you.

Ways to Help: Would your group like to help prepare a meal or volunteer in other ways – contact Pastor Christopher or our coordinator Bonnie McClure at the church (620) 223-1950. Donations to sustain this ministry are also deeply appreciated and can be directed to Feeding Families in His Name, c/o First UMC 301 S. National, Fort Scott, KS 66701.

New Support for Grieving Mothers: One of our faithful constituents, Cindy Valdez, is organizing an in-person small group, “Support for Grieving Mothers” for the Fort Scott area that will begin in September. Here mothers will find kindred spirits, support, hope and encouragement as they navigate their loss. Cindy already manages two similar Facebook support groups with several thousand members and is adding this in person option, which we are delighted to support by providing the space to meet. Look for details soon or call the church office to be put in touch! (620) 223-1950

Rev. Christopher Eshelman

Pastor, Fort Scott First UMC

Know, Grow, Serve, Share

Cell Phone (316) 833-4974



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