Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-07-23

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Thursday July 23, 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
Dear Friends,
Nathan Paul-Bonham took a wet corner too fast on his bicycle, crashed, fractured hip and pelvis, and contracted a bad case of road rash. He’s okay, but is just now feeling the bad pain that will only get worse before it gets better. (Nathan, if you’re reading this, take your meds and feel the love coming your way. Seriously.) His parents, as I write this, are coursing through Illinois. By the time you read this tomorrow, they’ll be leaving the Texas panhandle or thereabouts. 
Nathan is a YAV—a Young Adult Volunteer for our church, the Presbyterian Church (USA)—serving in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was to be his last week concluding a year of service to and with at-risk youth there. 
Rachel and I and our sons love Nathan and his family. We met Scott and Donna almost 40 years ago at Union Seminary & the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. None of us had kids then, and we could not imagine how we would love each other’s kids and families.  
Nathan is 6-feet 8-inches tall with his basketball shoes on, but he’s still our collective “little boy.” Join us in praying for him.
Sometime ministry is rushing through the night on a cross country drive. Sometimes it is a healing ministry of books-on-tape and slow walks around the house. Sometimes it is praying for strangers or feeding family. It’s preaching hope in the face of hopelessness, freedom in the face of quarantine, victory when the tide is decidedly not in your favor, resurrection around a hole and pile of fresh dug dirt.
Friends, pray for the Paul-Bonham family and the miles they have yet to drive.  They have to make it back to St. Joseph, Michigan, after all, with a wounded son.
And let’s continue to be church together. “Being there” for one another. Caring. Reaching out. Challenging. Comforting. Taking seriously this ministry of presence during a season of separation.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Take on Race:
Interested in First Presbyterian Church becoming “multicultural”? It’s easier to talk about than to achieve. I would love it. But would the necessary changes be too tough on you? On me? Hum…. Here’s some food for thought from Beth Hutchens:
Wednesday Night Vespers was a special blessing last night. Thank you for the inspiration.  

Men’s Prayer Group 8:30 am
Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.

Friday Night Lights Bible Study 7:30 pm
Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.
Humor: (Serious times call for re-creation, joy, and humor.)
We had dinner on the moon the other night. The food was good, but we didn’t like the atmosphere.

Romans 8:26             
… [T]
he Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 

Peace between nations. Peace between neighbors. Peace between lovers. In love of the God of life. Peace between man and woman. Peace between parent and child. Peace between brother and sister. The peace of Christ above all peace. Bless, O Christ, my face. Let my face bless everything. Bless, O Christ, my eyes. Let my eyes bless all they see. Amen.
PEACE to you all,
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138