From Pastor’s Pen
Ah, Summer! For many, this is the most wonderful time of the year, especially for those of us living in the great northeast where winter seems to extend itself for six months. Summer brings relief – and BBQs, days at the pool or lake, family reunions, hikes through the beautiful Adirondacks… oh so many activities we long to experience while bundled up against the wintry gales.
Vacation travel is also on the top of our list for summer. We long to get away and leave the routines behind – including regular times of worship, prayer and personal devotions. It’s no big deal – God will understand; it’s vacation time.
Jesus said: And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. [Matthew 28:20]. Thank God for that reassuring promise that even when we seem far away from Him, He is with us. This summer, stay close. Stay close to Christ as you travel far and wide, taking advantage of all the unique summer activities. Worship in new places. Take time out each day for devotions. And above all, pray, thanking God for the beauty of Creation you are experiencing, and for His promise to be with us even when we are away.
From Pastor’s Pen
Welcome, Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist said: He [Jesus] will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire [Matthew 3:11]. This was fulfilled on Pentecost when, the apostles saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:3]
This is not the gentle white dove that appeared above Christ at His baptism; this is not the dove who signified peace when returning an olive branch to the ark. This is a firebird – the bearer of power, of miracles, of knowledge and strength. It is through the Holy Spirit descending as tongues of fire that the Apostles first spread the Gospel to those of every tongue and nation gathered in Jerusalem. It is this same firebird, this same Holy Spirit, which rested upon each of us at our Baptisms, and bestowed to us the gift of knowledge which is faith.
What power this faith has, and what power the faithful have been given. Scripture describes Jesus as explaining: In my name they will drive out demons; … 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. This Spirit of Power enables the faithful to defeat the threats of the devil, and this is ours.
Welcome to YOUR Pentecost!
From Pastor’s Pen
Each year, we gather to commemorate the actions that lead to the sacrificial crucifixion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This remembrance is called the Season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday and culminating at the Vigil before our Lord’s tomb on Easter eve. However, the Season of Lent is only part of the preparation, the personal progression to the empty Tomb. There are many mountains to climb before arriving in wonder and exaltation at the site of Christ’s resurrection.
There is the Mountain of Re-Creation [Genesis 8:2-4]; the Mountain of the Law we cannot keep [Exodus 19:20; 20:1-17]; the Mountain of Remembrance [Joshua 4:19-24]; the Mount of Prayer [John 8:1, Matthew 26:35]. Only after revisiting these mountaintop experiences are we truly prepared to follow Jesus to the Mount of Sacrifice – Calvary: the sight of our salvation.
The Season of Lent is so much more than 40 days in a particular year. It was designed from the beginning of time to bring us to the Cross – to bring us to the empty Tomb. May we all climb those mountains, and with God’s grace, rise to everlasting life.