Sugar Loaf United Methodist Church
Pastor Susan Chupungco joined the Sugar Loaf United Methodist Church on July 1, 2014.
A native of California, Susan relocated to New Jersey to attend seminary at the Drew Theological School. She graduated in May with a Master of Divinity degree. Susan has been an assistant pastor at the Yorktown Heights United Methodist Church and she and her husband, Angelo, were recently married in June of this year.
Susan loves long walks, knitting and yoga. She enjoys arts and crafts and anything that involves construction with wood, glue, scissors, nails, fabric, etc. She loves the outdoors and believes that fresh air and sunshine are two of the best things in the world.
Summer is a season of play! As the days get longer, we spend more time outdoors - gardening, hiking, swimming. One of the things I used to love to do was fly a kite. My mom always kept a kite in the trunk of her car. Sometimes we’d find ourselves on a day with just the right amount of wind and in a great spot to fly a kite and we’d spend some time together watching it dance in the sky.
I love watching children play. I love to watch as they figure out the world around them and joyfully experiment with new things. Watch a very young child encounter something new and they will use all their resources to figure something out; touch, smell, taste, look. Children have a natural curiosity about them that often gets lost in adulthood.
Something else I love about watching children play is the natural way that they invite others in and collaborate with one another. Go to a park and observe as children who don’t know each other begin to play with one another, negotiating taking turns, determining the rules to a game, or feeding off of one another’s imaginations. Particularly incredible is watching children play make-believe, as they have a natural inclination to think outside the box. Children don’t have deeply ingrained thought patterns and rules, which means their pathways for thinking are free which often leads to creative uses of toys and other objects, or in finding solutions to problems.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Remember how easy it was to get lost in play? hours would go by and it felt like just a moment in time. What if we got lost in our worship the way we can get lost in play? What if we could recapture our childlike imaginations as we wonder together how we might be at play with God, worshiping, discipling, witnessing, and following the way of Christ in new and refreshing ways?
According to N.T. Wright, “Worship is humble and glad; worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God's truth, not its own. True worship doesn't put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn't forced, isn't half-hearted, doesn't keep looking at its watch, doesn't worry what the person in the next pew may be doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark.”
Play is not work! Play takes us to another dimension of time and place. When we are lost in play we don’t notice how long we’ve been at it, or if it is hot or cold, and hunger is but a distant thought - we just are in the moment, captivated by what is before us. When is the last time you were utterly consumed in play?
As we enter the season of joyous play, may we each and every one of us be open to the Spirit of God as it calls out, “come and play with me!” May we get lost in joyous praise and worship, the kind that suspends time, that takes us away from the thoughts of anything else but God. Let our worship be play, not work, and may God delight in us!
Peace, Pastor Susan