Running on Empty

Lacking is a bad thing. If you doubt that, turn on your televisions and count the number of times someone tells you you don’t have what you need: a medicine, a snack food, a beer, a car, whatever. Our entire economic system, it seems, is built around telling us that we’re lacking something and if we buy such-and-such product, we’ll finally have our needs fulfilled.

But it doesn’t work like that. Even when we get the new car or the new medicine or whatever, we don’t always feel that our lack has been met. Sometimes this even happens in church, where we get the long-touted experience of God in a worship service, but it doesn’t last and we have to keep coming back to fill that emptiness.

It’s why the experience of want and desire can be such a wilderness experience. We can feel that when we’re in this state of want we are far removed from God. Surely if God were near me, we think, I would have what I want and need.

But it was God who emptied Godself to become one of us. It was God who self-limited, self-emptied, and created a lack within God’s own being to become human and walk beside us in the person of Jesus. It was that same Jesus who knew temptation and want in his life. And so, what we find is that when we feel that lack, that emptiness, we find ourselves not removed from God, but in a God-moment. We find in the acknowledgment of our emptiness a fullness that we never would have thought possible. And we find in our letting go and loving that we find the very thing we sought.

Rev. Mark Schaefer, Pastor


Thanks to everyone who participated in worship services Sunday. Thanks to Lu Lawrence for leading us in worship and for reading our scripture lessons, and to Chiara Griffith for providing our beautiful music.
         Sermon: “The Wilderness of Want,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
         Sunday’s attendance: 48
         Collection: $ 2,203

         Sermon: “A World in Ashes,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
         Attendance: 13
         Collection: $ 72

NEXT SUNDAY SERVICES, MARCH 8, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
Second Sunday in Lent

Sermon: “The Wilderness of Fear,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
Scripture Lessons: Genesis 12:1-4a; John 3:1-17

Want to help out in worship? Use our online sign-up to be a greeter, usher, liturgist, lector, or communion server.

Community Events & Information

Monday, March 2, 7 p.m., Furgang Hall

There will be a meeting of the Board of Trustees, this Monday evening at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to members of the congregation.
Contact: David Rawlings,
The Pastor's Bible study continues this week and every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.  We will be doing a deeper dive into the lectionary texts used on Sunday during worship. Everyone is welcome to attend. No prior experience required!
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
Wednesday, March 4, 2–4 p.m.

Rev. Schaefer’s “office” hours in the community this week will be Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Main Street Coffee & Treats in Upper Marlboro. Feel free to stop on by!
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
Link:  Google Map 
A Joshua tree in the Arizona desertMarch 1–April 12, 2020

When you’re in the wilderness of want, fear, despair, tragedy, death and loss, or betrayal—where is God then? Beginning next Sunday, we will be embarking on a Lenten Sermon series exploring the experience of journeying through the wildernesses of our lives and where we encounter God in their midst.
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,

March 14, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Southern Region—Brooks and Waters Memorial UMC
5400 and 5550 Mackall Rd, St. Leonard, MD 20685

What if every connection we made built up the body of Christ here and now? What if together we connected people to one another and connected churches to better connect to their communities and with their causes. Jesus exists in these connections. Join us on a this year's Connect Leadership Summit, a conference designed for leaders—lay and clergy—on March 7 or 14. Following a dynamic keynote presentation in the morning, you have the option of choosing 1 of 6 dynamic tracks geared toward equipping you in your role as a leader in the Body of Christ. Pre-registration is required! Registration fee includes a Connect Leadership Summit journal, lunch and the copy of Daniel Im’s book “No Silver Bullets.” The deadline to register and submit your registration fee is March 1, 2020 by 4:30 p.m. 
Contact: Christol Medley,
Registration Link:

Regular Weekly Calendar

  • Monday
    • Monday Methodists, 9 a.m.
    • Knitting Circle, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday
    • Cheltenham Academy, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Pastor’s Bible Study, 9:30 a.m.
    • Pastor’s Office Hours, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
    • AA and Al-Anon, 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    • SLOGGS Meeting, 11:30 a.m. (2nd Wed of month)
    • Pastor’s “Office” Hours, 2–4 p.m.
      • Main Street Coffee & Treats, Upper Marlboro
    • Book Club, 6 p.m.
    • Band, 6 p.m.
    • Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m.
  • Friday
    • Pastor’s Sabbath
  • Sunday
    • Sunday School, 9 a.m.
    • Sunday Worship, 10 a.m.
    • Fellowship, 11 a.m.

Prayer List

The family and friends of Judy Stone, mourning her death
Tony, in a coma after a major stroke
Mary, diagnosed with cancer
Derek, deployed to Bahrain
Melissa, suffering a bad cold
The family on Croom Road who lost their house in a fire
Morgan, returning early from study abroad in Italy
The family and friends of Amy Mackey, mourning her death
The family and friends of Bradley Brown, mourning his death
Jenn, going through a difficult time
Leora, with increasing memory problems
Joanne, going in for a heart procedure
Bill, with gall bladder problems
Becky Flade, recovering from a stroke and going through a difficult time
Jim, searching for a job
Clayton, for continued healing
Crystal’s friend, diagnosed with Parkinson's
Elsie and Chuck Tyler, in the hospital

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