Little Pigeon River, Great Smokey Mountains NP
This photo always reminds me of something new. While on a hike along the Little Pigeon River in the Great Smokey Mountains, Laura and I stopped here for a rest break. The panoramic setting on the I-phone of that era captured a light ray shining down through the trees into the river. Greenery along side and tumbling rocks moved over time reminded us of something continuous about the natural world. It was a great hike. Almost timeless.
I look at this photo now and dive into it once again with memory and anticipation. It was a great trip with family. WOW! I can't wait for a trip like this again. It has been a year since COVID-19 shut down travel, and so many other things. But sooner than later, gatherings with extended family and outings such as this requiring interstate travel will be possible.
Just a bit longer. After the rest break, we headed upstream and followed the trail uphill about 1700 feet. Working muscles and gathering breath, we traversed the river multiple times as it became smaller and smaller. Water cascades, little pools, streams coalescing, and finally a spring. New! Water! Life! The hike now sets in mind the walk we have made this past year during pandemic. Just a bit further now to the newness that awaits us.
This Spring Break we will once again be riverside. With a couple of the closest friends possible. Rest! Newness! Once again the stories from Along the Way shall be shared. And we will look forward to so much more.
Along the Way
Celebration of All Saints Sunday
This Sunday we observe All Saints Sunday at Hunt United Methodist Church. It is a holy celebration of remembrance. We worship on the morrow of thin space in which the memory of dear ones fills the present. We give thanks for the mentors and friends who taught us of Jesus and guided us toward a greater love of God and neighbor.
Join us at 8:30 or 11:00 am this Sunday, November 1st for in-person or online worship. We continue to have safe distance seating in our sanctuary with an online presence via Facebook Livestream. See our church website for more information - www.huntumc.org
Along the Way
Laura Ogle Harris and I appreciate you for travel prayers, for anniversary and birthday wishes, and for making the road trip with us as we logged many a mile in the last 14 days.
As we work from the car today on the final miles back to Hunt, TX, we realize that so much is going on with you as well. Some of you are hospitalized, or have family facing surgery today. Some of you have lost loved ones during these days of pandemic. Many of you, like us, wonder about our nation and this election cycle. Many of you continue to work essentially in an effort to continue life and family economies.
Know this: Laura and I and our family gives thanks for each of you and your families. We love you! We are honored to call you friend. We pray for you and wish for you the abundance of Grace and peace we know in Christ Jesus.
For schools, students, teachers, administrators- in person or remote - blessings to you today.
For the journey, and for today, we pray.
Pastor Paul and Laura Harris
Back in March, as we began the Stay-at-Home campaign to “flatten the curve” and reduce the rate of coronavirus spread, I asked myself ‘How Long?’ Well, it’s early July and we are in a more severe condition of viral spread and increased hospitalizations.
It seems now that question is not the correct question for our situation. Maybe instead, I should be asking another question. The problem is I do not have a clue what question to ask.
I am in uncharted territory as you are friends. Maybe for today, we can agree that this thing called pandemic is here for longer than any of us would choose. And maybe we can agree that grace and peace are most cherished blessings to receive.
Pastor Paul Harris
As I sit today in the church office provided for your pastor, I pray for each family of our congregation by name and ask for a blessing of faith, hope, and love for each. I include your connections in the community by which we extend our reach into the world. I also pray for the numerous persons who have joined our ONLINE WORSHIP community in the last two months.
We have experienced a very different springtime here in our hill country hamlet. On March 19th, we made the decision to close our church facilities to IN-PERSON Worship and Fellowship pending the growing pandemic, a potential of community spread of the coronavirus, and the impact of COVID-19 to the more vulnerable among us. Two months have passed.
I have learned so much about the Church. For one thing, we can adapt. We do have the capacity for change in our lives whether it is comfortable or not. I have witnessed so many of you being willing and patient in the process of adaptation, Thank you! For another thing, we can care for one another. When the hospitals closed to visitors and families except in dire situations, pastors and care visitors found themselves unable to visit those in the hospital. That was tough on this pastor. My own Dad spent some time by himself at Peterson RMC during this time. And so many of you offered care to one another in a variety of ways during this time: writing cards and letters, making telephone calls, sending text messages, and using email effectively to share information. Some of you volunteered to coordinate a new Local Food Pantry ministry for those in our community needing support in difficult times.
WE CAN ADAPT AND WE CAN CARE! This proves to me that this local church congregation has what it takes to survive what comes next. What comes next? Your guess is as good as mine. No, really; no matter how much we desire our daily routines to return to what they were, I believe that our future is one that will require us to utilize our best skills of adaptation and care.
Your pastor and your worship music leaders and teams are planning a summertime worship experience at both 8:30 am and 11:00 am which is tailored for ONLINE WORSHIP AND LIMITED INSIDE SEATING. We begin that experiment JUNE 7th.
I buried the lead, but if you read this far you found a nugget of information. More importantly, I hope you know how much this pastor and family love you and miss seeing you regularly. May the blessings of adaptation and care guide us all in the days to come.
Along the Way
Rev Paul Harris
Hunt United Methodist Church
This year Mothers’ Day celebration will be different. But then, there are so many things different about our current situation. I am sure there is a season of grace in how we ritualize the day.
I will not be able to bring my mother flowers on May 10th. We won’t be dining together. My card will be mailed instead of delivered in person. Well all that is okay because so many have had to deal with this many times before. Celebration from a distance. What I will be doing is sitting on my truck tailgate curbside while Mom sits on her apartment balcony. We have to speak rather loudly. It’s a workable solution to be present with each other for a little while.
That’s the thing about a celebration of Mothers’ Day - we remember the presence of someone special in our lives that has provided mothering love to us. Holy and sacred is the celebration of God’s presence with us. Not far from that is the relationship many of us have been blessed to experience in a MOM.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers, and to all those who have graciously served in that role!
Hugs on the horizon,
April showers bring May flowers! And very few people are noticing because there is something else happening in the world - COVID 19.
Here in Hunt, Tx we are receiving a good rain. And we give thanks! Sitting on the front porch and noticing the benefits of this rain will bring great joy during this April Stay-at-Home campaign.
From my family to yours, may peace come to our world.
Along the Way
I give thanks today for the opportunity to experience the Psalms. I write of Psalm 130 and what it speaks to me now. Be well friends...
From Pastor Paul Harris
Along the Way
Written March 24, 2020
From the loneliness of the current stay-at-home recommendation (order depending upon where you live), I reach out on social media. Can you hear me? Can you see me?
Lord, are you there? Which platform would yield the best connection? Is there an APP for me to use as I search?
I admit it has been (awhile, too long, you fill in the term) since I last asked of you Lord. My self-reliance has been ingrained in me since my youth. I am wondering now though... I think I need you. No, I am sure now. Please Lord, do you hear me?
This social distancing has caused me to feel differently about everything. Is there something I (we) can do now to make it all better? I am watching health workers afraid for their own safety. I see wealth accumulation slipping away. So many are being furloughed or laid off from their jobs. I need some hope that this wave of uncertainty will pass!
Is that you Lord? Can you speak up please! Wait? Wait for what?
Love, mercy, grace, forgiveness...found in the promises of your creation...redeemed in the hearts of all your people...at first distant, and now so clear I hear Lord, I see!
You are with us! My soul is given hope!
Waiting... at curbside for groceries to deliver to my elderly parents. Supplies and medicine too. I promised to be here for them!
Oh... you promise to be here for me? Help me believe Lord. Help me trust you. Help me know your truth.
As we wait now, I pray with you friends and neighbors. I pray for our world. Teach us your ways Lord. Fill our hearts with your Spirit. Love us so we can love each other.
The groceries are here. Time for my delivery. Time for deliverance of us all.
Thank you Lord.
God is saving all creation.
God is with us, now and forever.
God is love.
Good Morning neighbors,
You may be a part of the congregation I serve as Pastor. You may be a Facebook friend from somewhere Along the Way. You may be tuning into this site for the first time.
WELCOME! I pray that the Peace of the Lord shall be with you all...
And you would say... "And also with you!"
We invite you to join a small group of worship leaders who will be present with you this Sunday March 22 at 8:30 am on www.facebook.com/HuntUMC to provide our faith community and those connected virtually an Experience in Grace.
Tune in and join us. You can also watch the facebook feed anytime later and you can find the video posted later to www.pauleharris2017.com
May the blessings of peace be with you!
Pastor Paul Harris
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend