Bellport United Methodist Church
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
He who abides in love, abides in God.

The Back Pages


The Back Pages




A Mother's Prayer


A.T. Pierson writes that “all true prayer trusts [God] to give his own answer, not in our way or time, or even to our own expressed desire, but rather to his own unutterable groaning within us which he can interpret better than we.”


As an example, Pierson points to Monica, the mother of the man who came to be known as Saint Augustine. Although Monica “pleaded with God that her dissolute son might not go to Rome, that sink of iniquity,” he went anyway. While there, he met Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who led him to the Christian faith. Saint Augustine is considered one of the most important church fathers.


“God fulfilled the mother’s desire while denying her request,” Pierson writes. How might God be meeting your desires, even amid what appear to be unanswered prayers?








A Prayer for Mom

A young boy had been misbehaving, so his mother sent him to his room. Sometime later, he came out and told his mom he’d prayed about the matter. “That’s good,” she replied. “If you ask God for help to not misbehave, he’ll help you.” 


“Oh, I didn’t pray for help behaving,” said the boy. “I prayed for God to help you put up with me.”



St. Anne, Grandmother of Jesus


Though never mentioned in the Bible, St. Anne (or Ann) is traditionally known as the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. Her name comes from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning “grace.” Legend holds that she believed herself barren until finally, after 20 years of marriage, she gave birth to the baby who would become Jesus’ mother. As the story goes, Anne later had two more daughters, Mary Cleopas and Mary Salome, each of whom gave birth to boys who came to be followers of their cousin Jesus: James the Younger and James the Elder, Simon, Jude and John the Evangelist. 

Statues and pictures of Anne often show her teaching Mary to read. Others show her with both her oldest daughter and her grandson Jesus. Commemorated on July 26, Anne is considered the patron saint of grandmothers. In some parts of the world, Roman Catholics consider her their grandmother, too.



Ruth -- A Pentecost Story


The disciples were celebrating Pentecost, originally a Jewish festival, when the Holy Spirit descended on them and birthed the church. Pentecost, which began as a harvest festival, had come to commemorate the giving of the law. The book of Ruth became integral to festival worship. 

Why Ruth? This short story doesn’t mention the law, let alone God giving it to Moses. Yet in Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law (“Where you go I will go …. Your people will be my people … ” [Ruth 1:16, NIV]), she fulfills not just the letter but the spirit of the law: lovingkindness — all the more remarkable because she’s a foreigner. Boaz, too, demonstrates exorbitant kindness to Ruth. 

As Christians celebrate the Spirit bridging differences in Jerusalem, uniting all nationalities by making the gospel message intelligible to all people, we too can remember Ruth’s story. For in it, God unites two enemy peoples for his grand purpose: Boaz and Ruth’s marriage leads to King David and, ultimately, to King Jesus. Today, the Holy Spirit continues to unite all categories of people under Christ’s reign for the good of the world.







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   See "A Prayer for Graduates"



Commencing to Learn

What would you tell a young man or woman about to graduate? Probably the most common thought commencement speakers try to get across is that the graduates are indeed commencing. They are just commencing to learn. While they may justly be proud of graduating from school, a few months in the world of work will cause them to realize how much they do not yet know. 

Christians who love God with their minds know that the truth frees them from ignorance and superstition. They also know that the joy of learning brings great satisfaction. It also brings wisdom, the wisdom to know how to evaluate and use what they have learned.



Mysterious Ways


Before pursuing a career as a Christian singer, Ryan Stevenson was a paramedic, encountering trauma and “true brokenness.” When he received a 911 call about a woman struck by lightning, Stevenson didn’t think she’d survive. But thanks in part to his efforts, the woman made a full recovery — and later struck up a friendship with him.


One day the woman asked Stevenson, “If you could be doing anything with your life, what would it be?” His answer? Music. She gave him a check for $2,000, and he used it to cut an EP, which led to a record deal. Through Stevenson’s chart-topping song “Eye of the Storm,” he wants to remind listeners that God “hasn’t forgotten about us. He’s still paying attention to us no matter how horrible things might seem. He’s in control.” 




The sweetest sounds to mortals given 

are heard in Mother, Home and Heaven.


~William Goldsmith Brown