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Tidings from Bethlehem-May 2024

TIDINGS from BETHLEHEM -----Monthly News from In & Around Our Parish

From the Pastor’s Desk May 2024

“And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.” –Acts 2:2

On the weekend of May 19th our congregation will celebrate Pentecost. The sanctuary will be bedecked in red paraments, and Geraniums will fill the chancel. As the candles flicker on the altar, we will be reminded of that all-important moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and quite literally inspired the inaugural work of the early Christian church.

The Easter season began with a promise fulfilled, the promise of the resurrection in and through Christ. And the Easter season concludes with, yet another promise fulfilled. Jesus had said to the disciples, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” And it was that Spirit that showed up on that fateful Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension.

This is certainly worthy of celebration in and of itself, but we will be celebrating more than just that historical moment. We also lift our prayers and praise on Pentecost weekend, because the Spirit continues to encourage us. The Spirit is continually present and is doing important work in the here and now.

Need an example? I would offer for your consideration our faithful confirmands. They have been learning together, investing in meaningful catechesis for three full years. Watching these young people mature over the course of three years is quite literally nothing short of miraculous. I have delighted as they have contemplated the deep matters of faith and offered insightful answers to questions of consequence. I have happily witnessed these students participate in worship leadership with increasing confidence, watched in awe as their comfort grew vesting, lighting candles, and distributing communion. Was this maturation just a matter of time? Of course not, the scriptures, as well as our faith convicts us that it is in fact the Holy Spirit nurturing these young people.

When we finally place our hands above their heads, just before their confirmation, you’ll note that your pastors pause thoughtfully, prayerfully. The momentary hesitation is an acknowledgement that the Spirit is still powerfully present, and the Spirit’s work is ongoing in these blessed children of God. Yes, work is ongoing, and it must be, because just as God has fulfilled promises in these sacred seasons, these confirmands and many of us have made promises as well.

The keeping of those baptismal promises is the expectation, but the spiritual reality is… God will still have a hand in it, if we are successful at “living among god’s faithful people, hearing the Word of God, sharing in the Lord’s supper, and striving for justice and peace in all the earth,” it will not be by our own noble efforts, but rather in and through a glorious collaboration with the same force that fueled those first apostles so long ago. A blessed Pentecost and congratulations to our confirmands!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

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