Monday, July 3, 2017

Church Write-Up: Tie a Knot and Hold On

For church Sunday morning, I visited a local United Methodist church.  When I visited it last Easter, the pastor shared that she was thinking of retiring.  At church this morning, I learned that the church is currently without a pastor and was expecting to be without one for a while.  She must have retired.  The announcer was saying that all hands need to be on deck, and, indeed, they were.  The church was friendlier than it had been in my past visits, since people were standing by the door greeting people, and I was greeted and handed a hymn book when I sat down.

The person giving the sermon was an elderly gentleman who was the church’s pastor sometime in the past.  His sermon was a cozy feel to it, kind of like a Guideposts article.  He related a lot of anecdotes: the plight of the IWW union (well, then again, I doubt the conservative Norman Vincent Peale would have a pro-union element to his sermons, especially when it concerns a controversial union!), Norman Rockwell’s struggle to cope with his wife’s alcoholism, David moving on after the death of his son with Bathsheba, the procedure pilots follow when their plane is shot down in battle, and a prominent psychiatrist who recommended that people do service work to solve their problems.

Essentially, the sermon was about what to do when one is at the end of one’s rope.  The answer is that one ties a knot and holds on!  And what are those knots?  Performing one’s daily routine, service work, and devotions.

I thought about a United Methodist woman I knew.  She lost her husband to leukemia, and that really shook her.  She did not talk to anyone for a year.  She did not go to church during that time.  She did pray, but she expressed her anger at God to God.  Eventually, she came back to church and resumed her service work.  She did not exactly do what the pastor recommended, but she got through, and eventually she got back to her routine, her service, and her peace with God.  She must have felt that she needed space before returning to that, though.


  1. I like this James, very introspective: Tie a knot and hold on, kinda like a rock climbing metaphor isn't it? You know I have found myself in that situation, my husband passed away last year. And in light of this being year 2, I realized that my days are just whizzing by, and I have a strong desire to be "present" in my life, even in the face of navigating grief and loss.
    So I was prompted to reach out for help, to ask for help from the leaders of our church. I sent an email to our presiding Pastor, who is the "Stake President" and asked him for help. We had a meeting and the takeaway for me was a few things; a personal blessing, a word of prophecy and faith, an encouragement to keep a Gratitude journal, and to participate in what we call Family History work, where we work on our personal family trees, which is a pattern of Gathering Israel.
    My blessing was that in doing these small and simple things, my heart will be healed and blessings will unfold in various areas of my life.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience about this, Ramona.

  3. "the procedure pilots follow when their plane is shot down in battle"

    So what *is* the procedure? You're keeping us in suspense. But inquiring minds wish to know!

  4. Part of the procedure is identifying where you are so that you don't get lost. He also said to make a plan, even if you change it. I'd probably be panicking if that happened to me!

  5. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind the next time my fighter jet is shot down behind enemy lines.

  6. Yeah, he may have mentioned a manual, too. I'm thinking, how would one have time to read in a time like that?


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