Coming Down to the Ground

In the 2008 Pixar movie WALL-E, the earth is an ecologically destroyed, trash-covered wasteland tended by one sole surviving robot: the aforementioned WALL-E. The planet had long been abandoned by the human race that now lived in luxurious starliners in a beautiful nebula, where every whim they have is catered to by attentive technology. But ultimately, to serve the planet and its struggling but resurgent plant life, it is the task of the corpulent human beings to leave their heavenly abode and come back down to earth. Literally.

The movie usually serves as an ecological or environmental fable, but it also works as a theological fable, too. The people are enjoying their time in the heavenly environs of the nebula on their luxurious starliner, but they not fulfilled. Their lives have no purpose. And in the end, their task—to rebuild the world—remains unfulfilled, so long as they dwell among the clouds.

It is difficult to want to leave such “heavenly” experiences and return to the ground. That's something the disciple Peter was no doubt feeling when after observing Jesus’ transfiguration and the arrival of Moses and Elijah, offered to construct some shelters there on the side of the mountain. It seems that Peter wanted to linger in this special moment, in this encounter with heaven.

But ultimately, those who ascend the mountain—whether it's Moses receiving the Covenant or Christ being transfigured—descend again to get back to the work to which they were called. It's not always easy to forsake those experiences that call us to linger, but when we return back down the mountain, we find that we are about the task that we have been called to. For there it is that we find Christ, who goes ahead of us into the plains, valleys, streets, and by ways of the world, and who calls us to follow.

Rev. Mark Schaefer, Pastor


Thanks to everyone who participated in worship services Sunday. Thanks to Crystal Reed for leading us in worship and for reading our scripture lessons, and to Chiara, Carole, David, Perry, and the Choir for providing our beautiful music.
         Sermon: “What Happens on the Mountaintop…,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
         Sunday’s attendance: 34
         Collection: $ 1,461.00

Sermon: “Ashes,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
Scripture Lessons: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

NEXT SUNDAY SERVICES, MARCH 1, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
First Sunday in Lent

Sermon: “The Wilderness of Want” Rev. Mark Schaefer
Scripture Lessons: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11

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

Community Events & Information

Tuesday, February 25, 6 p.m.

Next Tuesday, February 25, is Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras and it is a long-standing church tradition to consume pancakes on the day before Lent begins. We’ll be having a pancake dinner, Tuesday, February 25 at 6 p.m. in the Furgang Hall. In order to have a good count of the amount of pancakes we'll need, please RSVP to Lu Lawrence at the address below!

Contact: Lu Lawrence,

Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m.

This week marks the beginning of Lent and we will begin with our observance of Ash Wednesday, this Wednesday, February 26. We will have a service of the word and imposition of the ashes at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. Everyone is welcome.

Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
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, February 26, 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 Dunkin’ Donuts in the Osborne Shopping Center. Feel free to stop on by!
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer,
Link:  Google Map 

Thursday, February 27, 12 p.m.

Join the seniors for their monthly senior luncheon, this Thursday at noon in Furgang Hall. This month, in honor of Black History Month, a group from Trinity Episcopal Church will make a brief presentation before the luncheon. Everyone is welcome!
Contact: Carole Ann Beckley,
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. 
    • Pastor’s “Office” Hours, 2–4 p.m.
      • Dunkin' Donuts, Osborne Shopping Center
    • 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 Amy Mackey, mourning her death
The family and friends of Bradley Brown, mourning his death
Tony, recovering from a stroke
going through a difficult time
Leora, with increasing memory problems
Joanne, going in for a heart procedure
Becky Benton, going in for further testing
Bill, going in for a spinal procedure
Becky, recovering from a stroke and going through a difficult time
Jim, searching for a job
Clayton, going in for a stress test
Crystal’s friend, diagnosed with Parkinson's
Logan, hospitalized and suffering complications with medication
Marlice, suffering heart problems
Alice Roberson, mourning the death of her son Jeff
Elsie and Chuck Tyler, in the hospital
Nancy, recovering from surgery
Melissa, recovering from a car accident
Linda, recovering from a car accident
The people of Australia experiencing wildfires
Those in the armed services soon to be deployed abroad, and their families
The Sawez family, mourning the death of their father Ehsan
Michael Kidwell, in need of surgery after a fall
Ellie, in need of a hip replacement
The family of baby Lindley, at St. Jude's
Yousef, in need of physical healing

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