Worship Preview 9.11.22
Press Release: September 10th edition.
First United Methodist Church:
This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “Community in God’s Temple” Scriptures: Acts 11:1-4, Galatians 2:11-21 and 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.
We are in a short series about health and thinking about our congregation and our community. Every week in the series, I will repeat this message: “whatever your body is, however your body shows up in this space, you are made in the image of God and your body and your whole person is welcome here. This sermon series is not going to tell you to change your body, your mind, or your emotions to fit a sense of what or who a person should be. Instead, we are going to explore together what kind of health God desires for us and calls us to enact in our communities just as we are in this moment.”
Each week, we will briefly touch on a different aspect of health.
Our passages this week, Peter and Paul are wrestling with what is appropriate to eat, when and how. When we think about physical health, it is important to recognize the ways our society pressures us to look a certain way, exercise a certain way, or eat a certain way to signal that we are physically healthy. God did not make all bodies to look or function the same. Certainly there are norms and best practices, but we are complex beings and different things affect each of us differently. We also have different opportunities – often dictated by where we live. In the state of Kansas, 15% of people lack reliable access to nutritious food and 30% of all counties are designated as food deserts. Nationally, 39.5 million people in the United States are living in a food desert where they lack consistent access to any kind of fresh produce (https://www.aecf.org/blog/exploring-americas-food-deserts)
We are drawing from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and Galatians in this series. It is not a stretch to see that Paul’s concern would be less about whether we eat a particular diet and more about making sure that everyone in our community has access to food that nourishes and sustains their physical health. Fort Scott is not in as extreme a position as some in our nation, yet we do face significant challenges of poverty and food insecurity here. People who lack regular access to meals and don’t have easy access to healthy foods are less likely to have good nutrition. A lack of good nutrition raises their risk of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity and can even lower life expectancy compared to people who do have access to healthy foods. When we work toward improving even one of these social determinants for everyone in our neighborhoods and community, we can improve overall health for many if not all of our neighbors.
And rather than focusing on inaccessible and ultimately unimportant cultural standards of beauty, Paul would ask us to consider — do my choices and actions today benefit how I feel in my body and do my choices and actions today demonstrate that I am dominated by something outside of God? So – our choices matter. Not all of our choices need be the same, and it matters that we recognize how a variety of factors may limit the choices we, and our neighbors, might have. We are called into community – seeking opportunity health and grace for all God’s children.
If you do not have a church home, or just need a change, you are invited to join in worship at 10:30am 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. See www.firstumcfsks.org/newvisitors for more information on what to expect.
This Week: Wednesday, September 14th, 5:30pmFeeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. 301 S. National. We are thankful for all the volunteers from other area churches and community groups that make this meal possible each week.
Community Office Hours: Pastor Christopher plans to be at Common Grounds from 9:30-10:30am Monday and Hedgehog, Ink. from 2:30-3:30 on Thursday. Come say hello!