Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

May 12, 2021

May 12, 2021

Dear Friends,

Sunday, May 23rd is Pentecost Sunday!  That day we will recognize this year’s Confirmation Class and celebrate the sacrament of communion in worship!  Bill Wannamaker and Ed Black have led a group of 11 youth through a process designed to help them think deeply about what they believe and who they are and want to be.  We will receive our youth as adult members, and one young woman will be baptized.  In the Reformed (i.e. Presbyterian) tradition, most of the time we baptize infants.  We do this because we believe that “we love, because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  God loves us even before we can know God for ourselves.  And it is God’s love for us that encourages us and leads us to love God in return.  Much like the healthy love of a parent who loves and cares for us when we cannot return his/her love, God loves us and invites us to love God in return. So, we also baptize believers (anyone who can claim God’s love for themselves and who can make a commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ).  And we do this because we believe that as powerful as God’s love is, it requires a response from us.  We both receive God’s love, and we are called to share that love with others.

At the root of both forms of baptism is the conviction that God – that force that created the universe and all that exists – is a force that is personal, loving and working in our hearts and in the world for reconciliation, wholeness, and redemption.  God wants to be in a real, personal relationship with each of us, and we have the chance to accept this invitation.  That is the audacious claim that is at the root of what it means to be a Christian Disciple!

So, when we baptize anyone – adult or infant – we celebrate the amazing, good news about who God is, who we are, and what is finally true about the world in which we live.  The news is finally good because God who rules the universe is good. 

When life is as hard as it has been in this last year and a half, when suffering comes, or we lose a loved one to death, it can be hard to see good or to believe that God is working in the world for good.  But the cross at the center of our sanctuary reminds us that God is able to take the worst evil and the deepest suffering and transform it for a good purpose.  The suffering is not good.  The evil is not good. The death is not good.  But the suffering, the evil, and the death are not the final word.  So, worship with us if you can on Pentecost – online or in person – because there is a lot to celebrate!

And because the Confirmation Class will be present in the 10am worship service and we have allowed them to invite their families to attend that service, it is going to be very full.  So, WE HAVE ADDED AN 8:30AM WORSHIP SERVICE ON SUNDAY, MAY 23RD, so that anyone who wants to worship God and to receive communion on Pentecost can do so!  When you register for worship, there will not be many spaces open for the 10am service.  So, please consider joining us at 8:30am.  The livestream of the 10am service will continue as usual as well.

Join us, anyway you can, for worship on Pentecost Sunday – May 23rd!

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Ellen

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