RECAP–AS I AM based on John 4:4-26
#8 Hymn–JUST AS I AM, WITHOUT ONE PLEA
Context for the Hymn (from umcdiscipleship.org)
Charlotte Elliott, a Victorian hymn writer, was born in the south London district of Clapham in 1789 and died in Brighton, England, in 1871. Her grandfather was a famous evangelical preacher. Her family, who belonged to the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church, taught her Christian piety.
Elliott was a famous humorous poet during her youth. At the age of 32, she suffered from a serious illness that left her disabled for the rest of her life. Then her lifelong spiritual mentor César Malan, a Swiss minister and hymnologist, counseled her to replace her rage and inner conflict with peace, and simple faith in God; from that day on, she turned her literary talents to writing hymns.
Although sometimes depressed by her condition, she always felt renewed by the assurance of salvation, and she responded to her Savior in hymns with her “strong imagination and a well cultured and intellectual mind” (John D. Julian, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892).
In 1834, Elliott moved to Brighton and lived with her brother, the Rev. Henry Venn Elliott. One day when everyone in her family had gone to a church bazaar to raise funds for a charity school, Elliott was left alone, confined by her sickness. Though depressed with feelings of uselessness and loneliness, she recalled the message “Come to Christ just as you are,” which she had received from César Malan during the darkest period of her soul. She then overcame her distress to write this hymn.People aren’t “good enough” or “not good enough” to come to Jesus. It is through God’s initiative, pardon, promises and free love mentioned throughout the hymn that everyone can come to Jesus.
Too often we wear masks–not just because of COVID, but because we don’t want people to see our real selves. If people saw us for who we really are, would they want to keep us around? Would they still consider us a friend? Would public opinion change if they knew who we were underneath, or if they knew our struggles or pain? We are afraid to come just as we are, for it might not be good enough.
This is how the Samaritan woman felt. She:
1) Was isolated. She came that day to the well at midday when the sun was at its highest point. Most would come to the well in the cool of the morning or evening. The fact she came at midday revealed she was somehow distant from her community or could not be associated with the rest of the town. She was alone.
2) Had a label. She was a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were considered hated half-breeds by the Jewish neighbors, but a Samaritan woman was considered to be especially low, permanently unclean with no hope of redemption.
3) Was thirsty for something more. Yes, she was thirsty for water; but she was thirsty for something more, a thirst that could not be quenched by water. There was a hole inside she was longing to have filled.
4) Was full of sin and shame. She had been married and divorced five times. Any divorce was shameful, but five gave her a reputation as a woman of ill-repute. This was even furthered by the fact that the man she was with at the time was not her husband. She was isolated because of her own life choices, and carried with her the weight of her sin and shame.
5) Was filled with longing. She still worshipped God, hoping that somehow she could atone for her sins and find hope.
She came to the well that day with all of those things. But she did not realize that day she would come face to face with Jesus. She was there, just as she was, with her isolation, label, thirst, sin & shame, and longing. But when Jesus saw her and dialogued with her, instead of rejection, he offered her living water, a new life, and salvation.
Friends, we might not have a history like the Samaritan woman, but we all carry weight with us. But as Jesus embraced this woman as she was, he will embrace us as we are too. All we need to do is be honest, be real, and allow him to heal our wounds. Take off your mask, and come, just as you are.
Questions for reflection
1) Do you feel like you have to wear a mask to hide your true self?
2) Why is it hard to be vulnerable?
3) What weights do you carry that no one else knows?
4) Do you trust in Jesus to be your living water, or are you digging your own empty well?
This Sunday Pastor Ryan continues the Favorite Hymn Series with our #7 hymn. The sermon will be titled, “The Power of the Cross,” based on Colossians 1:15-23. Why does the cross hold so much meaning and power in our lives? And what is our #7 hymn? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for May 4 – 10
May 4: Joshua 2:1-21 How did God meet Rahab just as she was?
May 5: Judges 13 How did God meet Manoah and his wife just as they were?
May 6: 2 Kings 4:8-37 How did God meet the Shunnamite as she was?
May 7: 2 Kings 5:1-19a How did God meet Nathan as he was?
May 8: Job 42 How did God meet Job as he was?
May 9: Genesis 27:1-29 How was Rebekah a good mother for Jacob?
May 10: Exodus 2:1-10 How was Moses’ mother an example of faith?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, May 5–Worship Team @ 7:30 PM
*NOTE THE DATE CHANGE* Thursday, May 6–Women’s Fellowship @ 6:30 PM
Saturday, May 8–National Day of Prayer event @ 6:30 PM
Thursday, May 20–Leadership Team @ 7 PM
Friday, May 21 & Saturday, May 22–Disaster Auction
Sunday, May 23–Pentecost Sunday Love Feast!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Brethren Woods–Fundraising Opportunities
Do you want to see Pastor Ryan poured with a bucket of water? If we can raise over $200, we can do so! This time, instead of it being done by family, it can be done right after church by one of you! And if Pastor Ryan is the highest money raiser for this fundraiser for Brethren Woods, he will get a weekend retreat at Forest Haven.
Also, Pieter and Nils will be doing a 100 mile bike ride, visiting congregations through the valley, starting at Brethren Woods and ending at Pleasant Valley COB. They are hoping to make a stop here. We can show support by donating to their cause!
If you would like to donate to either cause, write a check out the church, but you need to mark as “Dunk Pastor Ryan” or “Bike Ride” in the memo line. If donating via cash, please mark it on an envelope.
Call to Prayer–National Day of Prayer Service
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
We will have a National Day of Prayer Service on Saturday, May 8 @ 6:30 pm. If you would like to assist by leading a station of prayer, please let Pastor Ryan know. We would love to have six volunteers willing to lead a prayer station.
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Cooper family(challenges to negotiate)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Alda Miller (health)
Diane Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB