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posted May 30, 2019, 8:24 AM by Bowmansville UMC

For the early church, Pentecost was the second most important part of the Christian year after Pascha or Easter. Originally, it commemorated both the Ascension of Jesus and the descending of the Holy Spirit, but became two distinct celebrations by the end of the fourth century.

As Christianity became legal, there was no reason not to have as many celebrations as possible.)

Pentecost also became a favorite time for baptisms with its focus on the work of the Holy Spirit within the church and within our lives. The holy day continues to be a wonderful celebrative time for rites of passage including baptism, confirmation and the reception of new members.

           Pentecost Sunday represents an ending as well as a beginning: the end of the “Great Fifty Days” of the Easter Season (Pentecost means “the 50th day” in Greek) and the beginning of the commemorations of the early church. Pentecost also gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves the question, “What is our community ‘on fire’ about?”

Whatever you do to focus worshipers on the movement of the Spirit in our midst, remember the question: What is stirring within us? What is our/YOUR passion for ministry?

           What sets us ablaze (or at least warms our hearts)? Remember how Wesley said his heart was strangely warmed? How he had his conversion moment……have you folks ever had a conversion moment…..I have! I have talked about it.

This can give a theological and missional under-girding for worship celebrations, providing a “why” for the “what” of worship planning.

           May the Holy Spirit work in surprising ways in your church this year!                                 

  Pastor Jim

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A few nights ago, I had to comfort our dog Duncan, during a thunderstorm. He’s not usually affected by most weather, but the thunder noise had him scared. He shook like a leaf in the wind. So I held him and talked to him. I took a blanket to cover him to sleep under and sat with him until he felt brave enough to settle under the blanket, and that didn’t happen till the storm had passed. Once he was calmer and safely tucked under his blanket, “we” both went to bed.

But before I fell asleep, I thought about his need for comfort and how we’re not much different in this respect. Aren’t there times we all need to feel safe and to be reminded that we’re going to be okay? Maybe it’s not a thunderstorm, but a situation that makes life feel out of control.

The diagnosis: A relationship that’s falling apart.        Sadness and grief.      Financial struggles.

Or so many other possibilities, like our governing body of the United Methodist church sometimes God will change what’s going on around us, but often He will provide comfort for what’s going on inside of us instead.

 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

          Because He comforts us first, we are able to comfort others. We may not be able to change someone’s circumstances, but we can be there just to sit and let our friends know they not alone.

I couldn’t stop the thunderstorm, but I could comfort Duncan while he was afraid and shook like a leaf. I couldn’t stop my mom’s acute kidney failure a few years, but I could sit with her in Hospice so she didn’t feel alone. So many things we can’t control, but we can be there. Even when we can’t understand the situation or the pain, just being present can often be enough. It validates another person’s emotions. It says, “You don’t have to walk through this alone.” And perhaps, as God works through us, it even shines some light into the dark places in our lives. Friendships in the Love of Christ.                                          

 Pastor Jim