Vandalia United Methodist Church


From the Pastor

The presidential election of 1840 was one of the most contentious in our history. The Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison of Indiana, ran his campaign like a weekend, frat party. Every small town held a parade in which large casks of whiskey were rolled down the street, those who followed with lit torches and shouts of "Tippecanoe (a battle Harrison had helped win) and Tyler too (John Tyler was his running mate) got a free drink with the promise to vote Whig. Harrison's campaign contrasted their claim of his humble background (the claim was that he was born in a log cabin, actually his family ran a plantation in Virginia) with the
Democrat candidate, Martin Van Buren's affluence. One enterprising merchant, EC Booz of Philadelphia, bottled his whiskey into log cabin shaped glass containers, giving us the name "booze" for alcohol to this day. Van Buren, the sitting president, warned that Harrison was an alcoholic and it was Van Buren who was in touch with the common man and woman. To this end Democrats emphasized his humble beginnings, in Old Kinderhook, New York. Old Kinderhook, or its abbreviation "O.K." entered our language as the mantra that if Van Buren were re-elected everything would be "O.K.". By the way, he was not re-elected! Harrison won the election but died shortly into his term leaving his inept vice president, John Tyler, in charge of the nation for four years! By the time you read this we will have passed through the election of 2020. To be certain this is a consequential election as every election is, and many of us have strong feelings about which side should win. There are two households on the west side of Vandalia who seem to be competing
with yard sides about their passion for candidates Trump and Biden! Either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden has won the election. For those of us who's candidate won, there is euphoria; for those who's candidate lost distress perhaps verging on depression. I want to borrow the phrase from the 1840 campaign to speak to all sides. Let it be "O.K." with us. Let us remember the words of Paul alive in another season of political distress. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4). What Paul is telling us is that our faith in God should mitigate our distress, our anxiety, and our unrest about a political election. It is "O.K." to be upset that our candidate lost, and to work to elect a new candidate in 2024; but not "O.K." to let our disappointment change who we are. Ultimately, it is God in whom we trust, have faith in, and believe in; and God is not running for office. Furthermore, as Christians, how we respond to political elections speaks to our community about our faith in God. Be kind to those who you disagreed with politically, even if they were disagreeable. Be positive about the country we love even if your candidate did not win. And be engaged in a process that every four years brings us back to another election. Because as long as our God reigns on the heavenly throne, and in our hearts, everything truly is "O.K."!

Grace and Peace, Pastor Tom

                                           November Preaching Texts

November 8, Veteran's Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 26: 34-44
Sermon theme: Is this the end of the world as we know it? A contentious election, a pandemic, hurricane after hurricane and economic trials! What does Jesus teach us about end times/Second coming? How do we live in anticipation of his return but not in dread of an end time?

November 15
Scripture: Matthew 22: 34-40
Sermon theme: The Greatest Commandment. How does loving our neighbor love and honor God? Why does Jesus put such emphasis on God's love being manifest in us?

November 22, Christ the King Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
Sermon theme: Today is Christ the King Sunday, interestingly the last Sunday of the liturgical year and the beginning of a new year (with Advent). Let's turn the page on 2020 (Amen) and turn our lives towards Christ!

November 29, The First Sunday of Advent
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25
Sermon theme: Waiting for Christmas. Once we waited on Christmas (store decorations after Thanksgiving, trees Christmas week, "The Grinch" on tv just 1x year with no DVR/DVD/VHS! If good things come to those who wait, how can we build waiting into advent?





9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684