“The Gift of This Day”
A Message of Encouragement
from Pastor Lara

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Travis and I have been think a lot about the pandemic the last few days, even more so than usual. Our daughter-in-law's father died Wednesday, another victim of COVID-19. For our son, Michael and his new bride, Meagan, it has hit home and become very real - as it has for Travis and I as we listen and offer words of consolation that do little as of yet to console.

Our family is not the only one who has lost. Some 160,000 people have died, millions more have been sick and a good percentage of those have lingering difficulties, and everyone has given up something that was important to them in the days before it all changed. If we are not careful, we could lose sight of God, allow our vision to be blurred to the point that God's unfailing presence becomes harder to focus upon. We could even begin to turn our attention unduly on ourselves, our losses, our griefs, our fears, our insecurities, our anxieties to the point that we move into the all too dangerous territory of self-pity. Travis shared with me a little video clip that captures beautifully the application of the Apostle Paul's words to the Thessalonian church about giving thanks in all circumstances. Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, offers us a beautiful invitation (with a stellar accent) to do the very thing Paul challenges believers to do: rejoice, pray, and give thanks. As we all continue to live into the realities of this pandemic, acknowledge all that we have lost and grapple with uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring, it seems to me that these words might help us focus on the gift that is today.

We cannot allow our hope to fall victim to the pandemic, for if we allow that to happen then we also lose the power of imagination, the transforming presence of love and the possibility of transformation. Rather than turning inward, to focus outward spares us the dangers of despair, self-centeredness, sadness, depression, loss of meaning and purpose. Paul dares to talk about rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks when writing to a young church under persecution. Paul knows what is so easily obscured and forgotten during difficult times.

I thought I would share with you a powerful reminder of how important the days we live are regardless of circumstances, even a pandemic - even grief, even death. I hope you enjoy this beautiful visual reminder of the gift of this day. Click the link in the graphic above and receive the gift with the same humility, love, and wonder in which it is given to us by God; be attentive, trust and hope.

I am blessed and grateful to be your pastor. Thank you for the words of hope, encouragement and support that seem to appear in my inbox, mail box and text messages just when I need them most. They are manifestations of grace in my life, witnesses of God's ever present love alive and moving in YOU.

With love always,
Pastor Lara
aka "The Vicar"
Beginning June 6th and continuing throughout the summer, Martin UMC will be offering one time opportunities via Zoom or Facebook Live to connect with one another, learn something new and have a bit of fun doing it! Be sure to check this new ZOOM INTO SUMMER section of the newsletter each week to stay in the know about Who and What is coming up and When!
Apple Corps meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning for casual fellowship. Class begins at 9:45.
The Zoom Meeting ID is 293-856-379 or click the link below to go directly to Zoom.
Branches meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning. The Zoom Meeting ID is 213-928-173 or click the link below to go register and go to Zoom.
Genesis meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning. The Zoom Meeting ID is 937 5166 7725 or click the link below to go register and go to Zoom.
"I CONNECT" meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 963-430-720 or click the link below for Zoom.

Journey meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 429-051-096 or click the link below for Zoom.
New Beginnings meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 387-197-129 or click the link below for Zoom.
The Way meets via Zoom at NOON every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 450-965-323 or click the link below for Zoom.
Sunday School for preschool and elementary school meets via Zoom at 9:45. To maintain a secure site for our children, please email Ms. Robin for login information before Sunday.
Prayer Concerns & Sympathy
Please continue to check the Facebook Prayer Page for daily updates or concerns. To be redirected to the Martin UMC Care Team Prayer Ministry page, click here:

Martin Community: Mark Bush, Glen Dow, Barb Herbison, Steve & Jackie Herbison, Palmer Keith, John Longyear, Melissa Norton, Dottie Rust, Marcie Smith, Suzie Smith, Lee Swann, Joe Turner, Mandy Wertz & family

Family & Friends: Billie Bradford-Jane Bostick, and a group of 20 friends from her hometown, Ryan Campanaro, Gwen Caylor, Cory Chalk, Jill Davis, Roselyn Doverspike and her husband Chuck, Amy Ellis, Dealia Anne Farmer & family, Denise Foley's grandson: Tristyn and his mother Laura, Travis and Lara Franklin's daughter-in-law, Meagan Scaglia Franklin and her family, London and Brandon Hollenbeck, Gloria Jackson, Diane Kunce, Linda and Larry Lewis, Danielle Marie, Sue Traver, Deb & Al Viney, Kathy Walton

We extend our love and sympathy to Mary Gladstone on the death of her mother, Mary Jane McMullen.

We extend our love and sympathy to Bob & Nanette and Ron Cowain on the death of our beloved Nancy Cowain.

We extend our love and sympathy to Michael and Meagan Franklin, son and daughter-in-law of Revs. Travis and Lara Franklin, following the death of Meagan's father, Bob Scaglia. Bob died from complications of COVID-19 on Aug. 5th, and other family members remain ill, some seriously.

Names remain for two weeks unless otherwise requested.