Monday, March 29, 2010
An Easter Pie Sale & A Community Easter Sunrise Service @ Tinney Chapel
Sunday, March 28, 2010
When The Cheering Stops: Palm Sunday @ Tinney Chapel
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WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER VIDEO ABOVE: Georgia Goggans and Kids Time @ Tinney Chapel. Click the arrow to play.
When The Cheering Stops
Not many of us expect ever to hear crowds cheer for us. Instead, we expect to live plain vanilla lives of dedication, service and the sometimes elusive pursuit of happiness. Of course, it's the happiness that's sometimes elusive, not the pursuit: The pursuit (of happiness) may itself become the very stuff of life.
There are those, of course, as Pastor Sue Gross reminded us today, who do find themselves the objects, sometimes the subjects, of cheering crowds. She remembered Woodrow Wilson, for whom crowds cheered after World War I when the U.S. President of that era spent much of his time, energy and life force promoting the inclusion of America into the League of Nations--a quest that was to end in bitter disappointment and failed health for Wilson.
More recently, there was Michael Phelps, for whom crowds cheered because this human could apparently out swim most fish or any exotic aquatic life under the sun. In addition, he claimed more Olympic Gold than anyone before or since.
But, for both, as Pastor Sue, recalled, fame was fleeting, and after a year or so, the cheering stopped for both Woodrow Wilson and Michael Phelps, or--for that matter--just about any celebrity-of-the-moment one cares to mention.
Strangely, it was not so different for Jesus, whose early ministry was highlighted by miracles that astounded those who happened to be in the vicinity: Food was multiplied, the blind were made to see, sickness was healed, even the dead were raised. To be sure, such feats--along with the charisma of Jesus--prompted crowds to cheer.
Never more so, perhaps, than at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the anniversary of which we celebrate today. The cheering was so loud at one point that some of those who felt threatened by Jesus asked him to quiet the cheering crowd. Jesus declined, saying instead that if he did that, the very stones on the ground would take up the slack and continue the cheering. Was he serious? Was he being metaphorical?
This for certain: The tone of Jesus' ministry changed noticeably after he came to Jerusalem for the final time of his earthly ministry. Pastor Sue said that Jesus began to de-emphasize the miracles and to emphasize the need for a firm commitment by those who chose to follow Him. Indeed, he also emphasized His own commitment to The Cross. None of this change in tone appeared to promote the cheering of crowds. In fact, just the opposite: That's when the cheering stopped, explained Pastor Sue.
How could crowds go from Hosanna In The Highest for Jesus on Palm Sunday all the way to Crucify Him a few days later?
Pastor Sue said the cheering stopped for Jesus when he began to declare that Everyone Matters, opening the door of Salvation to the whole world. That was not the kind of change that many of that time and place were ready to believe in, and some were even angered by the change in tone.
The message was not a welcome one, and so the Messenger went to the Cross for all of us.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Remembering Michael Anthony Dupre, son-in-law of Mollie & David Stanton
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Memories Of A Gentle Giant Who Gave Much More To Life Than He Took
For 100 minutes in Mineola, Texas, a hushed congregation sat in the filled pews of First Christian Church, facing busy State highway 37 on a gorgeous Spring day the Lord had made for this special occasion: The home-going of Michael Anthony Dupre!
Immediately after seating, the silence was punctuated by the authoritative sound of trumpets, proclaiming to all the world: How Great Thou Art. Never before had this funeral service favorite hymn sounded quite so appropriate, given the volume and the verve of musician/vocalist Mike Sulen, whose very appearance--complete with the slender build and white beard often associated with the commanding presence of an Old Testament prophet--provided a subtle satisfaction to the solemnity of this day.
That would have been a hard act for anyone to follow, but the program in prospect was as unforgettable as the man himself, Michael Anthony Dupre. The cavernous beauty of this church was itself something to remember. Stained glass windows on two sides filled the sanctuary with Blessed Light, reminiscent of one of the scrolled art pieces highlighting the area above the pulpit: Jesus interacting with a child and appropriately titled, In His Light. The other pictured a shepherd with staff, recently reunited with a single sheep and famously titled, Lost No More.
Chaplain David Hicks chose a Scripture, beginning with Romans 14, verse 7, in which the Apostle Paul emphasizes how none of us lives to himself or dies to himself. Rather, we live unto the Lord and we die unto the Lord. Bottom line: We are the Lord's! To that end, he tells us, Christ both died and rose, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Michael was a Godly person, emphasized Chaplain Hicks, who explained that Michael is a very Biblical name, meaning one who is like God. Certainly those who knew Michael reveled in his Specialness, added Chaplain Hicks, who also read from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, emphasizing the message of a time and a season for everything, including Michael's long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was tired and he was ready, said Chaplain Hicks: May God bless the memory of Michael, who was like God.
Here, Mike Sulen played and sang another hymn, In The Garden, helping us to remember Michael Dupre's love of the outdoors, and especially, gardening.
Michael's Pastor, Rev. Jim Tingle, read Psalm 22, in part because it was recited in full by Jesus while on the Cross, and also because this Psalm indicates how closely Jesus identified with suffering, something that Michael Dupre understood all too well for so many years.
In fact, one of our pew mates at this service of remembrance was Carolyn Beavers, who remembered when Michael and Sherry Dupre visited our Sunday School Class at Tinney Chapel UMC, with Mollie and David Stanton, eight years ago on March 3, 2002, when Michael was already in a wheel chair.
Rev. Tingle remembered Michael as a gentle giant, whose life was about giving rather than taking, who was blessed with a great sense of humor and who took pride in his Louisiana Cajun heritage. After reading Psalm 22, the Pastor compared some of its message to that found in the familiar Christian hymn, At The Cross.
Later, Rev. Tingle opened the floor to anyone who wanted to remember or eulogize Michael, and many welcomed the opportunity, including both family and friends.
Michael was praised as a devoted husband, usually unaware of the profound effect he had on others, as someone who commanded respect, someone who was thoughtful, tireless, intelligent, honorable, helpful and hopeful.
Perhaps as a kind of exclamation point to the Christian life led by Michael, this funeral congregation participated in a special service of Holy Communion. The elements were passed out by ushers to each pew, with participants immediately consuming the bread individually, but awaiting a signal from Rev. Tingle for a simultaneous swallowing of the grape juice/wine/Blood of Christ. It was, to say the least, a highly memorable and a most holy Big Gulp tribute not only to the Lord, but also to the memory of Michael, who--as Chaplain Hicks had already told us--was very much like God.
It was also time for the white-bearded musician/singer to capsulize the life of Michael Anthony Dupre with another of his unique renditions: Just A Closer Walk With Thee. At its conclusion, those who had not actually walked with Michael, arm in arm with Jesus, felt as if they had.
After Holy Communion, and bringing us to the 100th minute of this all-too-brief half day of tribute, it remained for Sherry to send us away with just the right mindset, as she read a poem, written by an author who remains unknown:
When I am gone, release me. Let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it's time I traveled on alone.
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It's only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near.
And if you listen with your heart,
You'll hear all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile and say welcome home...
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Lay Speakers Andrea & Jack Abbott bring Prayer of Jabez to Tinney Chapel for Lent
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Snowflakes & Extravagance @ Tinney Chapel
Monday, March 15, 2010
Georgia's Pie Shop Is Taking Orders For Tinney Chapel Fundraiser
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Judging Among The Jonquils @ Tinney Chapel
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A Rock Named Ebenezer @ Tinney Chapel
Monday, March 08, 2010
World's Best Bass Singer Falls Silent
JOHN D. McELYEA, 2007
JOHN D. McELYEA, 2006
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The Bass That Made Tinney Chapel Famous
JOHN D. McELYEA DIED SUNDAY, after a long illness that, after much time and after much evolution, gradually wore down this man of great strength, great wisdom and—perhaps above all—great spirituality. His understanding of the Bible was rooted in the translation authorized by King James, and his references to the New Testament Gospels included Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke and Saint John. Any mention of a Gospel without the evangelist’s title of Saint, might prompt him to ask for clarity.
HIS GREATEST SPIRITUAL GIFT WAS HIS VOICE, a deep bass that far exceeded those commercial artists who claimed to have the lowest bass on the planet, even those who rattled the highest rafters and set off seismic shifts underfoot. In his prime, John D.’s bass was the deepest of the deep, the purest of the pure, and the untarnished pride of the quintessential choir at Tinney Chapel United Methodist Church, which often called on him to enhance the low notes of such songs as Heaven Came Down And Glory Filled My Soul.
THAT SONG WAS ON THE PROGRAM the weekend that Tinney Chapel was completing something called the Vision And Values Workshop (VVW), an event that set this church on the road to two subsequent awards for Best In Rural Ministry from the North Texas Methodist Conference. On that Sunday worship program in September, 2000, John D.’s voice was at its most resonant when the two VVW facilitators—Richard Hearne and Don Renshaw—came to evaluate our service.
RENSHAW WAS ALSO A FORMER DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT who had himself once sang bass in his own church, and he was blown away by this musical performance. As soon as the service ended, Renshaw demanded of no one in particular and everyone in general: “WHO WAS THAT BASS SINGER?” Renshaw and John D. did meet on that day, and enjoyed the kind of conversation reserved for two masters of the same great gift. It was a day to remember for all of us!
JOHN D. OCCASIONALLY PERFORMED BASS SOLO specials for our church, and on patriotic holidays recited That Ragged Old Flag, a song-poem made famous by Johnny Cash. Perhaps the highlight of John D.’s musical ministry was the day he sang at his own father’s funeral service, so it’s fitting that John D.’s choir mate and long-time friend, Ronny Ellison, a tenor, will sing at John D.'s funeral service on Wednesday, March 10.