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Newsletter March 1, 2016 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 3, ISSUE 22

The year was 1953. Patti Page was asking "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" and Eddie Fisher was "Walking Behind You". Those songs are long since forgotten, perhaps deservedly so. But buried deep in that year was something that was to become a #1 hit for a long time to come: the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Scientists James Watson and Francis Crick found the genetic structure deep inside the nucleus of our cells. As scientists began to decode the human DNA molecule, they found an exquisite 'language' composed of some 3 billion genetic letters. This inevitably led to the conclusion that the biology of human life was incredibly complex. "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." - Stephen Hawking. Instead of supporting the theory of the origin of life through natural selection, science just added a question that couldn't readily be answered. Since the formation and activities of cells is driven by this information (genetic language), where did it (the intelligence) come from? It's the chicken and egg thing. If it is needed for cellular formation, then how did it get there in the first place? Atheist Hawking believes, however, the power of natural evolutionary processes, given time, can explain “the illusion of design and planning". Others aren't so sure.

About 100 years before the discovery of DNA, scientist Charles Darwin wrote "Origin of the Species" which didn't take long to top the best seller list, especially for skeptics of the concept of a creator God. Darwin's work became the basis of the idea of natural selection or evolution. But Darwin said "if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." He and presumably his followers would eat his words. But it didn't happen. Evolution is still being taught today, many years after the discovery of DNA.

It's not that DNA isn't popular. It's impact on crime detection, genealogy, paternity questions, medicine and health are well known. It holds great promise for the future. But believers don't typically use the concept of intelligent design suggested by DNA to support their claim of a Creator. Maybe the science is too daunting. Maybe it doesn't square with Genesis, Chapter 1. Maybe we see the Bible as being about science instead of faith and inspiration. Maybe when we reach the well of belief, we don't need to go any further. For inquiring minds who do want to go further, check out the book, God's Crime Scene, by J. Werner Wallace, a cold case homicide detective and former atheist. He is also the author of Cold Case Christianity.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15.

From the Pastor

Each Sunday in the Worship Bulletin there are suggested Lectionary Readings for the coming week. The United Methodist Church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, a collaboration of two liturgical groups released in 1994. Readings consist of a passage typically from the Old Testament; a passage from one of the Psalms; another from either the Epistles or Revelation; and finally a passage from one of the four Gospels. The readings are in three-year cycles; the gospel readings in the first year (Year A) are taken from the Gospel of Matthew; those in the second year (Year B) from the Gospel of Mark; and in the third year (Year C) from the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is not one the three synoptic writings. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as synoptic gospels as they present or take the same or common view in the Life of Jesus. Each of these four readings consider the same subject matter, i.e. the announcement of the birth of Jesus, with readings from Isaiah, Psalms, Revelation, and Luke. The Gospel of John has a different form and character from the three synoptic gospels and is inserted into all three years.

The major principle behind the lectionary is that on a Sunday members of congregations should be able to hear the voice of each writer week by week, rather than readings being selected according to theme. In any given year the writer of one of the first three gospels will be heard from beginning to end. The rest of the New Testament is heard, in some cases, virtually in total, in others in large part. (Wikipedia). In 2016, New Hope will hear the majority of the book of Luke.

An aspect of worship that is sometimes not understood is the changing of the color of the paraments, the hangings of fine cloth which decorate the Lord’s table, the pulpit, and the lectern. Their colors signify the day or season of the Christian year. The four basic colors of paraments are red, white, purple and green. White is used during the Christmas and Easter Seasons on high days during the Seasons after Epiphany and Pentecost. Purple is the color of penitence and royalty, used during Advent and Lent. Red is the color of fire, symbolizing the Holy Spirit and used on the Day of Pentecost and at other times when the work of the Holy Spirit is being emphasized. Red is also an appropriate color for evangelistic services, ordinations and consecrations, anniversaries and homecomings. Green is the color of growth and is used in the Seasons after Epiphany and after Pentecost except when special days call for white or red.

I hope these explanations answer some questions that relate to our worship service. If you have other questions, call, text or email me. We cordially invite each of you who receives this newsletter to participate in our Lenten Services: March 20, Palm/Passion Sunday; March 24, Maundy/Holy Thursday Service (6 pm); and March 27, Easter Sunday.

May God continue to Bless each of you,
Sandra Whetsell, Pastor
Church Calendar

•  Sunday, March 20. Palm / Passion Sunday
•  Thursday, March 24. Maundy Church service, 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, March 27. Easter Sunday Flowers for the Cross, 10 a.m.
•  March birthdays. Clarence Higginbotham, (9th); Thomas Dukes (24th)
•  March anniverary. David and Cathy Hutto (2nd)

Windows Update

The damaged windows have been replaced. Phase 2 involves the replacement of the covers. The Windows Repair Fund is now over $10,000!. Thank you and God bless.