Glimpses of Grace & Truth ... We’ve been discussing the need to be more careful while watching and listening. Pastor K. Duncan tells about a time when a major newspaper had shown a man taking the oath of office as the first US Senator from Hawaii. When the paper received a critical and disrespectful letter the following day, editors published the letter and photo side by side. The letter - writer complained that, while senators have always taken the oath with their right hand raised, "The senator from Hawaii doesn't know his right hand from his left." In the photo, you see Senator Inouye taking the oath with his left hand raised. If the complainer had paid attention, he may have noticed why.

As the senator held up his left hand, we should notice that in his right suit-coat pocket is his right sleeve, a sleeve that looks empty because it is. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Dan Inouye joined the army, fought in Italy and won the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. When he took the oath of office as a senator, he did so with his left hand raised instead of his right because he lost his right arm in a battle protecting his men from German machine - gunners. If we take the time to listen and look more carefully, we will learn more about people, make fewer mistakes and maybe avoid some embarrassing situations. But my point today, just like Sunday, isn’t about avoiding embarrassment or even avoiding mistakes; it’s about seeing things as they truly are and even well enough to see more: potential. As churches have struggled, failed and even died across Europe and much of America, many struggles and deaths could be averted, perhaps avoided, if Jesus’ followers paid more attention.

Let’s pay more attention to people. Instead of looking for what others do or say wrong, we notice what they do right. Rather than see what they wear/ don’t wear, how they do their hair or makeup, we should notice that they actually came, that they found an open door and even found the room where we worship. More important than noticing other people, let's pay more attention to God. If we pay more attention to God ’ s work around and thru us, we gain a deeper understanding of things, leaving room for God to reveal things we’d never realize. For instance, seeing a man from Nazareth dying on a cross leaves little doubt about the outcome... unless you pay close enough attention to God’s work. Seeing a church dying in the inner city or in rural America leaves little doubt about the outcome... unless you know this God of Easter hope. Knowing and trusting that God means, regardless of our circumstances, we always have hope. Serving that God means anything can move from “dying” to living and thriving. Please join us Sunday as we strive to know, love, share, and serve this God.

Gladly following Christ alongside you: Ed, Lea and the First UMC Family