A Message from Ellen 5-24-23
May 24, 2023
May 24, 2023
When the Holy Spirit showed up the first time (after Jesus left in a cloud – read Acts 1:6+ for the story of the Ascension), Jesus’ followers were set on fire! They were completely transformed from cautious, careful, fearful followers of a dead rabbi, into bold, willing, and passionate followers of a living God. What the Pentecost story (Luke 2) describes as the coming of the Holy Spirit was the creation of a movement and a way of being in the world.
Pentecost gets celebrated once a year, and that celebration happens to be this coming Sunday – May 28th. I know that it is Memorial Day Weekend, but I challenge everyone to be present somewhere for worship. If you are in town, please come to Forest Lake for worship (Livestream is available as always). If you are out of town, visit another church. Or consider holding your own family worship at the beach, on top of a mountain, or wherever you are. Wherever you are this Pentecost weekend, make time to worship God.
At FLPC we will celebrate communion and think about what it really means to be a follower of the Living God in a world that is less sure than ever that God even exists. I don’t really want to waste time on handwringing over the new study (done by NORC at the University of Chicago) that says that not quite 50% of Americans say that they have no doubt that God exists. I have no doubt that God exists. I do have doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ has been willing to be set on fire or transformed so that God may be seen in us. So, praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit seems to be particularly relevant. Are we members of an institution, or believers in a movement? And are we willing to be moved from where we are to wherever God wants us to be?
Pentecost is a story of flames, fear and courage, risk, and compassion. What could that old story have to do with us? I hope to help us think about that on Sunday. Come if you are able. If you are not able to come physically, then come electronically. And if you are not able to do either of those, offer your own worship. Read Acts 2. If there are parts that you don’t understand, don’t worry about those. Focus on the words or images that spark your imagination or kindle your curiosity. Then prepare for worship by praying for God to give us again the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to speak to us all through the sacrament of communion. Because of the beautiful paraments that have been created to glorify God, our sanctuary will be aflame in red, yellow, orange, and purple on Sunday, and doves will be all over the Chancel! I hope that before Pentecost is over, that the sanctuary will not be the only thing that God has set on fire. What does following Jesus mean to you?
I hope to see you in worship.
Ellen F. Skidmore