We recently heard the story of David and Goliath.  If you want to read it again it is recorded in 1 Samuel 17.  The giant Goliath, standing 9 foot tall and wearing 100 pounds of armor, was the most frightening warrior of the enemy Philistine army.  He issued a challenge to the Israelite army directed by King Saul for one-on-one combat.  Not one soldier was willing to take on the challenge and 40 days have passed.

David, already secretly anointed the next king of Israel, is still a youth whose work is watching over his father’s sheep.  He comes to the camp to bring provisions to his brothers, hears what is going on, and offers to take on the challenge.  He won.  He defeated the giant in what those without faith would say were insurmountable odds.

We will probably never be confronted by a giant soldier, but we are all called to confront giants like grief, loneliness, sadness, insecurity, failure, oppression, and injustice.  The struggle against those giants may seem insurmountable.  But, with trust in God and the tools God provides, we can overcome these giants in our lives not by fighting on their terms, but on God’s.

David won the battle against the giant by using the skills he had—a slingshot and rocks.  The armor loaned to him was heavy, unfamiliar to him, and it made it hard for him to walk let alone take an offensive stand against Goliath.  As people of faith, we have tools that we learn through our times of private and public worship, Bible study, Christian conferencing, and prayer.  We are armed with the knowledge of God’s vision for a world where everyone is equal, everyone is loved, everyone trusts God, loves Jesus, and looks to the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance.

For instance, when we face the giants of oppression and injustice, we begin with the absolute certainty that God loves everyone and offers grace and mercy to everyone.  With that confidence supporting us we prepare for battle using all the tools I mentioned above, especially prayers for guidance and patience.  Then we trust that God is with us, and not only can we rely on God, but we also must, for our abilities are so small compared to God’s.  Then we step out to speak and act against human traffickers, slavery, bullies, starvation, lack of access to medical care, and inequality.

It is the work of groups like the United Methodist Committee on Relief, our five children’s agencies in IGRC, every homeless shelter and safe house, every food pantry, and every community experiencing violence in any form.  It is the work of all who think they are too small and powerless to make a difference and yet trust in God to lead them out to change the way the world operates, one person at a time.

It is the work of every Christian.

It is our work.


Let’s get to it!

Pastor Ann

I can hardly believe it is nearly a year since I arrived in Orion to be pastor to this wonderful congregation of United Methodist Christians! We have been through the cautious reopening to persons in worship just as I began, to larger numbers in the fall, to closing down again November to January, to opening again in small numbers, and now up to 60% capacity, and people who are fully vaccinated no longer needing to wear masks. Phew! It has been challenging just to keep up with the guidelines, let alone working to find ways to be in ministry to one another, our community, and the world in the pandemic.

We are still going through what we all hope and pray are the final weeks of juggling regulations, guidelines, safety, and wanting to get back to “normal.” Before we hurry back to how things used to be, let us pause to look at what we have learned along this journey.

1. We have learned that being part of a community of faith and the world community calls us to do what is best for others. It means our comfort does not come first. It means that loving God and loving all God’s people means we sometimes need to put on masks or stay home so that we are safe, and so are the most vulnerable people around us.

2. We have learned that when we are grounded in the promises of God to be present with us, to guide us through the dark days and the “valley of the shadow of death,” to love us no matter what we do, and to forgive us at any time we ask, then there is always a light that is a beacon of hope no matter what is happening in our lives.

3. We have learned that community and fellowship are far more important than we ever realized before. So, we have adapted to online worship, Facetime calls with family, Zoom meetings, phone calls, and notes to stay in touch. As more and more persons are vaccinated and feel safe coming back to worship, I am meeting many of you for the first time in person. It is wonderful to keep connecting with all of you as this first year has made it hard to meet you.

4. We have learned that slowing down and spending less time running around is not all bad. Some of our closets have never been so clean! Joking aside, the slow-down has allowed us time to really think about how we normally spent our time and how we maybe want to be different when this is all over.

5. We have learned to spend more quality time with God and with each other. That intentional time spent in conversation and prayer needs to continue. Even when we can return to “normal” there are still all the other challenges of life waiting for us. We must work to hang on to what is really important—relationships.

6. We have learned we really want to celebrate as the body of Christ called United Methodist in Orion when all the restrictions are lifted. So, help us think of the ways we want to celebrate and gather when we are finally able to have table fellowship, singing, and large events again. What do you most want? Is it a picnic or potluck? Is it a hymn sing Sunday evening? Is it a drive-in movie in church parking lot? Is it a time to acknowledge the losses we experienced so we can set them aside and move on? Is it some form of hands-on mission? Think about it. Pray about it. Let me or members of committees know what you are thinking so we have things ready when we get the green light to move on out.

Pastor Ann