Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-18

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Thursday June 18th 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
Dear Friends,
This from Jeannie Snoeyink:                        
“In our reading for Our Classic book study tomorrow, there’s a very apt lesson for all of us that I’d like to share with you appropriate to issues of today in society.  You have probably read this already from Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey. The title of the lesson is: Toward a Nonjudgemental Life.

“(From Nouwen:) One of the hardest spiritual tasks is to live without prejudices. Sometimes we aren’t even aware how deeply rooted our prejudices are. We may think that we relate to people who are different from us in color, religion, sexual orientation, or lifestyle as equals, but in concrete circumstances our spontaneous thoughts, uncensored words, and knee-jerk reactions often reveal that our prejudices are still there. 

“Strangers, people different from us, stir up fear, discomfort, suspicion, and hostility. They make us lose our sense of security just by being “other.”  Only when we fully claim that God loves us in an unconditional way and look at “ those other persons” as equally loved can we begin to discover that the great variety in humanity is an expression of the immense richness of God’s heart. Then the need to pre-judge people can gradually disappear.”

If you are interested in joining Jeannie Snoeyink and other saints in the Classic Book Club, please be in touch with Jeannie: jeannie.snoeyink@gmail.com
Thanks, Jeannie.
* * *
Jazz Night on last night’s congregational ZOOM…wasn’t that fun? The Matthew Storie Quartet rocked it. Matthew really is great. Eventually, we’ll hear him in our sanctuary again. Also, we’ll see him at the Iron Post and on campus. There’s a “future” out there without masks and physical distancing. It’s coming. Remember, we are working hard drawing the flock together for prayer, study, and edifying conversation and programming EVERY Wednesday at 7:00. Call it “The Wednesday Night Potluck.”

Friday, Men’s Prayer Team 8:30 am

Please email info@firstpres.church for the link.

* * *
Here’s a song I wrote about potlucks for a show I wrote and produced called A Place at the Table with Rev. Jim Freeman.
I. Church night is Wednesday Potluck feeding frenzy,
            won’t you belly on up to the buffet line? 
String beans, baked pumpkin Oh, Lord, ain’t it something?  
            Cooked in real butter it’s so fine.
Mrs. Brown baked her brownies. 
            Mrs. Jones bought a dozen eclairs.
The lady with the cats brought a casserole or two. 
            It’s made with shrimp and cat hair.
II. The program’s a slide show, the Wilsons thought we’d like to know, 
            everything about their trip while they were gone. 
The way they are smiling looks just like they’re lying, 
            Mr. Innis snores while they drone on.
But Mrs. Brown baked her brownies. 
            Mrs. Jones bought a dozen eclairs.
And though it feels that this night will never end, 
            Dessert awaits us and we don’t care.
III. Someone said food fight and corn found its way into flight.
            It hit Rev. Freeman on the head. 
First there was silence and a few prayers for guidance, 
            Then the young perpetrator was dragged home to bed.  
(Ain’t it aweful is what he said.) Because . . .
Mrs. Brown baked her brownies. 
            Troop Master Terrell made his crock pot s’mores. 
Well behaved, polite children are rewarded. 
            And delinquents don’t get theirs.
IV.  Yeah, church night is Wednesday potluck feeding frenzy,
            won’t you belly on up to the buffet line? 
String beans, baked pumpkin Oh Lord, ain’t it something? 
            Cooked in real butter it’s so fine.
It’s not as good as the movies, 
            and a concert downtown’s got us beat.
But talking with you over coffee and good food 
            makes my circle complete.
VI. So, limas and tuna, baked bread and a few of those 
            portobellas sauteed in wine.
You bring your beanies and I’ll bring my weenies
             and we’ll have a very good time.
fade—Tofu surprise is sublime—wrapped up in crepes. 
I think that Jell-O is lime—with seedless grapes. 
Even deliquents are fine—we give ‘em lots of breaks. 
God won’t you bless the buffet line!
* * *
Remember, Spiritual Formation via their Compassion, Peace, & Justice subcommittee hope to make a recommendation for a congregation-wide read for this summer on racism. Also, I’ll begin sharing movies and documentaries with you that might make this intense summer one of learning (and stories). Send me your movie and documentary ideas.
* * *
HELP! Your Session is in need of two elders to replace sitting elders who had to resign. We need two saints willing to step in to lead our (1) Nurture Committee and (2) Mission Committee. 
Please volunteer. Please pray. Please nominate somebody.
The nominating committee is:
Eric Stickels, chair
Greg Cozad (12/31/20)
Judy Hendrickson (12/31/20)
Leland Andrews (12/31/21)
Linda Peterson (12/31/21)
Bill Stout (12/31/22)
John Seiler (12/31/22)
 * * *

Good Word: 
Acts 10:34-35                  “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Let us pray (one more time for this one): 
Holy, Dear God,
the statue of Robert E. Lee is coming down
and it’s about time. I used to love walking
west on Monument Avenue in Richmond
looking up to him, and J.E.B. Stuart, and
Stonewall Jackson on their magnificent
You walked with me, O God, remember?
We said hello to the flower vendors on
the Boulevard. We wandered into the 
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and 
paused long and looked closely at 
Georgia O’Keefe’s “Light Irises.”
On the way back to campus, we’d eat 
at Bogart’s or the Strawberry Street
Café, feet tired from walking across
all those rounded cobblestones. 
Give your people the courage, I pray,
to pull the statues down in every 
town square and university quad
and city hall of all the confederate 
generals and slave owners and 
broken people. 
We can remember them in the 
museums that we love. We can 
explore their legacy in their context. 
There, they can still teach us. And 
we can adjust our path so that we 
don’t re-live their mistakes. 
You, alone, are worthy to look up to. 
Forgive us our myriad idolatries.
May we leave the pedestals for the 
birds. As we follow their nimble,
glad flight, might we be reminded 
to set our sights higher.
Much, much higher.
Hear our prayer, 
O Most High
A M E N .
(Matt Matthews, who, for eight years, loved traipsing around Richmond, VA)
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138