We continue our pandemic-style worship for another week, as we wait for conditions to improve. We will resume our regular services and activities as soon as the government determines that it is safe to do so. The Communion service originally scheduled for Sunday, 7 June, has formally been canceled, as has our annual Outdoor Service and Barbecue on Sunday the 14th. Our next regular Communion service is scheduled for Sunday, 4 October. John is producing an abbreviated service video, approximately 30 minutes in length, every Sunday. Each Sunday morning, he sends out, by e-mail, the link that you need in order to access the video on YouTube, normally between 10:15 and 10:30. Attached to that e-mail is a full script of the service, which can be printed for any relative or friend who doesn’t have access to the internet. You can access the current Sunday’s service also through this website. It is usually posted here before 1:00 PM.
The Christian Year – Sunday May 31 is Pentecost, the fourth of the four landmark festivals that give the Christian Year its shape (the others being Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter). Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples and followers of Jesus, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection (and 10 days after his ascension), as narrated in Acts 2.1-41. The Holy Spirit was given to the community of Jesus’ disciples and followers to take Jesus’ place as their teacher and leader, and to empower them to continue his ministry in the world. The Holy Spirit continues to be given today to everyone who believes in Jesus as his/her Savior and Lord.
Pentecost is the Greek name for a Jewish festival which in the Old Testament is called the “Festival of Weeks”. It celebrated the wheat harvest, and came fifty days after the Passover festival; in fact, “pentecost” is the Greek word for “fiftieth”. On that day, offerings of the “first fruits” of the wheat harvest were presented to God. By the First Century, it was also celebrated as the anniversary of God’s giving the Law to Israel at Mt. Sinai, during the Exodus. Thousands of Jews from all over the Roman Empire and beyond traveled to Jerusalem for this festival every year. It was in the midst of this international gathering that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus, and that they were enabled to speak in various languages — and were therefore understood by “Jews from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2.5).
The symbolic color for Pentecost is red, recalling the “tongues of fire” that appeared to Jesus’ disciples in the Pentecost event (Acts 2.3).
Day of Prayer – The Session has decided to designate this Thursday, 4 June, as another Congregational Day of Prayer. Everyone is encouraged to spend time in prayer at 1:30 p.m. that day — or at some other time of the day. You are encouraged to pray for concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as our congregation, family, and friends. John will again send out a sheet of prayer suggestions by e-mail in advance.