My FUMC Story
By Scott Taylor | 2021-05-28 | 4 min read
I have been at FUMC for eight years. I was at my previous church for five years (Calvary UMC), and three years at the one before that (St. Aidan’s Episcopal), two years at the one before that (St. Matthew UMC) and one year in my first church job (Westminster Presbyterian). Yes, that is a Fibonacci sequence! Should the pattern continue, I will look forward to thirteen years at my new appointment.
Anyway, I have been at FUMC longer than any other place so far. In many ways, it does not feel like eight years. There are so many memories. Amazing concerts! Beautiful worship services! Meaningful moments of ministry! I want to share one such moment of ministry with you. The significance of this story is immeasurable and only a handful of you have ever heard it. You might say that this is my FUMC story.
Years ago there was a student at Music Makers who I’ll call Sebastian. He was difficult. He got into fights. He cussed. He bullied other kids. He didn’t like to sing and he didn’t want to be in an after-school music program. For all I know, Music Makers was little more than a free daycare option for his family. At the end of the semester, the kids gathered on Sunday morning to present the end of the year musical. Though many children were absent, Sebastian was there! He stood on the back row, sang, and did the motions to the songs. I don’t think he smiled, but he sang nonetheless. After the service, his mother came to find me. Before she could talk, I thanked her for bringing Sebastian to the service and I said that I was very proud of how well he had performed. She began to tear up. She said, “It feels like no one ever says nice things about him. The school calls every week to tell me what horrible thing he’s done this time. He just can’t seem to find his way and it breaks my heart. But today! I just can’t get over it. He sang all the songs and did the dances. I’ve never seen him do anything like that!” Then she said something that I will never forget – it makes me tear up to think about it. She said, “You know what? I’m just so proud of him!”
That’s my FUMC story. Isn’t it amazing! It might turn up in a sermon one day - maybe paired with the following scripture.
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered,
“The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’
For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-21, NRSV)
Jesus had a tendency to compare the kingdom of God, that then-yet-now reality of the grace-filled community, to small things that often do not make it into our field of awareness. Mustard seeds. Yeast in bread. A pearl hidden away in a field. Little children. Sometimes we miss the point. We think that Jesus is saying that little things will one day grow into big things – but this is no different from the Pharisees out there saying “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” The point is not the significance that we place on things because of their potentiality, but the significance God gives to the things that people tend to ignore – a mustard seed, a child in the synagogue, or even the mom who cries out for the first time in a long time, “I’m just so proud of my son.”
FUMC, this is my story, but it is also your story. The kingdom of God is among you! Words can never express my gratitude for the past eight years. Godspeed.