St. Luke's United Methodist Church


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Orlando, FL 32819
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Weekly Update – October 16

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm in .

In just two weeks, we fall back into standard time. Now many of you look forward to this, since it means an extra hour of sleep…for one night. However some people don’t look forward to it, because it means that darkness falls earlier, making the days shorter and the nights longer. Well before the advent of electric lighting, this meant that to stay up past darkness you had to “burn the midnight oil.” In today’s culture, many of us burn such oil all too often: for late-night light bulbs are as numerous as the stars in the sky. Actually, not so much.

According to NASA, our Milky Way galaxy is typical: it has hundreds of billions of stars (our Sun being just one of them) and each star could have its own planetary system. Remarkably, they estimate that there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe, each having at least 100 billion stars. That’s A LOT of galaxies, stars, and planets. Why the science lesson? Just to remind us that our God is much bigger than our concept of God. Fortunately, our God doesn’t remain in the heavens, but (as we’ll see on Sunday) comes down to us.

In this week’s Scripture (Genesis 32:22-31), Jacob finds himself vulnerable again. The first time, he was fleeing from Esau’s angry and revenge. It was during this escape, that Jacob dreams and sees God standing above a heaven-bound ladder. There, at Bethel, God says, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Gen. 28:15). As God promised, Jacob is now on his way back to the Promised Land and is about to see Esau for the first time in 20 years. Jacob is once again vulnerable, fearing the future he must face. Yet, the God who “will not leave him” shows up. This time, God doesn’t remain at a distance, but stoops down from the heavens to Jacob’s level.

Burning the midnight oil, Jacob wrestles God all through the night. It’s also a time when Jacob is forced to wrestle with himself and his future. As I write on the heels of Pastor Jenn’s announcement, I’m reminded that we all wrestle with life sometimes, but I remain hopeful because God enters into the struggle with us. Most often, God’s promise of presence and blessing comes from our relationships and community of faith. In the classic song below, we see that nighttime is bearable because of those around us. So whether you’re wrestling with something right now or not, join Pastor David and I as we look to wrestling alongside and on behalf of one another.


Stand By Me, by Ben E. King

When the night has come, and the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No, I won’t be afraid, oh, I won’t be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me


So darlin’, darlin’ stand by me

Oh stand by me

Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me


If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall

Or the mountain should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no, I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me


Just for fun… go outside before Sunday, look up and try to count the stars.

With Love,



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