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My View from the Pew


Posted By: Misty Christner (email)
Date: 6/13/2018 at 12:43:38

Source: Kalona News unsure of date

My View from the Pew
By J.C. Herbert

As our tour of churches matures, we will, on occasion, worship where we have been before. The occasion for this will, most usually, be a change of pastors. We are not there to compare preachers; that would be onerous on a one-to-one basis even though this article will close with a general comparison. We are there to see how the congregation has weathered the change in leadership. It is, after all, a challenge for a church to adapt to a different voice and another set of ideas about what constitutes the life of a Christian congregation within the sanctuary and in their community.
The Sharon Center United Methodist Church is on a roll. Before the worship formally began there was a sense of vibrancy. It was in the conversations going on and in the preparations for what was to follow. You have a strong feeling that no one would want to miss any of this camaraderie. The house was full of children, always a hopeful sign in a congregation. The children's sermon featured discussion and a demonstration about the upcoming Crop Walk with a comparison between its purpose and Christ's walk to the cross. There wasn't that much room for walking because the children took up a third of the aisle as they passed from front to back and to the front again.
Sharon Center is an open country church, but because of that, or in spite of it, these persons know each other's needs. This is evidenced by the many requests for intercessory prayer via a traveling mike. There was a welcome bit of levity as a woman announced that this day was her 50th wedding anniversary. She had been married at the sunrise service in the church on this very day when Easter fell on this Sunday. There was no sun at sunrise, but here was ice and sleet all day. There is usually a more elaborate liturgy in United Methodist Churches than in time gone by but the sermon is still the high point for most congregations.
Pastor Doug Cue is a sermonizer of note. He did two things that do not ordinarily please me and I am "preacher-picky", but he did these no-nos in a way that found favor with me. He shucked his coat when he was ready to begin his sermon. I have considered that false evidence of real preaching to come in John R. Rice and all those of that practice who came after him. Pastor Cue made me a believer. He was getting ready to preach with power, and he did. The second was having the Bible in view and often holding it aloft. From his preaching and use of the scripture, I decided it was not an icon but a tool of exposition that he needed nearby.
The key sermon illustration was about an old chair that stood abandoned in his parent's back yard for years as a derelict until Doug discovered the joy of uncovering its oaken quality to restore it to where it occupies an honored place in his parents' front room. From this, he was set on a life of discovering the precious quality in the lives of those that others had considered beyond redemption.
He had catchy phrases to stick in your memory, such as "We need to overcome the easily discovered reasons to put others down and work hard to see the positive possibilities they have. Participate in the accomplishments of those around us, forget, throw away, cultivate and nourish." His most telling point was that Christ did not give up on his disciples, or us, when we hardly seemed worth saving, but went to the cross to save anyway.
If Doug Cue is not the most effective sermonizer I've heard on this tour, I'll gladly listen to him until No. 1 comes along.


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