This year our acknowledgement of Reformation Sunday will not have quite the same excitement, anticipation and pageantry as did our observance of the quincentenary anniversary last year. After all not many folks take note of a 501st anniversary with great fanfare.
But observe it we shall. This annual recollection of Martin Luther and the other reformers is not just an historical exercise where we recite the key text from Romans, or walk around in a brown monk’s alb holding a long piece of paper and a wooden mallet searching for a door to nail the paper to. It is a bit more substantial than that.
Luther (Martin and Katie) and their colleagues revealed to the world our total dependence upon God’s grace, revealed our inability to live in loving faith without the power of the cross of Christ, and revealed how, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to give and provide out of our abundance for our family of faith, and our neighbors in all locations of God’s creation.
As it turns out, these themes also will show themselves in the gospel texts from the tenth chapter of Mark’s gospel, which we will hear and think about during the first three weeks of October. When heard separately, the texts from this chapter appear to speak to three different topics. But we need to consider them as a complete teaching unit of Jesus, as he journeys closer and closer to Jerusalem, and his fate as the savior of the world.
As always, your participation each week in sacred worship is essential in our life together as a family of faith. God bless you as you live out your call in service to our Lord.
Clifton D. Eshbach,
Variety seems to have been the stuff of the summer, especially when it came to the weather. It was wet. It was pleasant. It got hot. It got hotter. It stopped raining. It stayed hot. It started raining. Too much rain. Became bearable. And it got hot again. It kept us on our toes.
As we turn the corner into the final one third of the year, variety will abound at Holy Spirit. The calendar in the middle of this newsletter will show you that. From our Rally Day, to our four-week Stewardship Pledge Campaign, to weekly Christian education classes for children and adults (including a presentation about our companion congregation in Tanzania), our third annual Blessing of the Animals Community Pet Event, as well as the Book Club, two Bible studies per week, Evening Prayer, choir rehearsals, and now bell choir rehearsals, plus the “usual suspects” of committee meetings, this place is jumping!
But let’s remember that all of these great things are motivated by our love of God, our devotion to Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Through our encounter with the Holy Trinity in our weekly word and sacrament worship, we hear God’s forgiving words, are sustained by Jesus in the bread and wine of the Holy Communion, and are propelled by the Holy Spirit into areas of service and care.
Wordship of God remains our defining, uniting activity. Join your family members of faith in our Sunday thanksgiving to God.
Clifton D. Eshbach,
A long time ago, very early in my ministry, a retired pastor (long retired at this time) told me to enjoy the “summer slowdown.” “You’ll have time for a little rest, get a chance to catch up on reading, and even set a few plans for later in the year.”
Now, after 18 plus years of ministry, I am still waiting for my first summer slowdown to occur.
As we enter the eighth month of the year, we might feel lured into our own sort of summer slowdown. Don’t be fooled. God’s call continues. For us as individuals and for us as a congregation.
This call will be very noticeable in the gospel texts we will hear in August. Actually, it began on July 29, and will continue through every Sunday in August. For those five weeks we will insert ourselves into one…just one…chapter of John’s gospel.
The sixth chapter of John is a powerhouse of ministry and information. And to take it in each week, we need to be alert and thoughtful to hear what God is saying and doing through the ministry of Jesus. We will hear about miraculous events of feeding and walking where no one else is able to walk. Jesus will teach about bread from heaven leading to eternal life. People following Jesus will tell him that all of this is hard to understand.
This is a time of the year when we have the opportunity to take in very important messages from Jesus. I hope you will be present for all of them. They will help us as we continue to share Jesus’ love in word and deed.
Now, I am going to try to lean back in the chair for a minute…
Clifton D. Eshbach,
Wednesdays @ 9:30 a.m.
in the Pastor’s Study
The new weekday morning Bible Study
at Holy Spirit in the Pastor’s Study.
Wednesday @ 9:30 a.m.
Following morning devotions, we will be having a study of the appointed gospel lesson for Sunday.
Come and join in!
My goodness, there is a lot to read this month! As you page through this newsletter, you will find numerous activities, and ministries for you to be a part of in the coming months. I’m willing to suggest that there really is something for everyone in this edition.
A couple weeks ago, I offered an opportunity, some might say challenge, by asking who is going to step up next to participate in various aspects of our life here at Holy Spirit. I wonder who it will be.
But I can’t just leave a statement like, “who will step up” out there on its own. During the course of this season the adult Sunday School class will be studying ways to step up by digging deeper into the meaning of the five congregational themes of radical hospitality, passionate worship, extravagant generosity, risk taking mission and intentional faith formation. These classes will put some substance onto the call to “step up.”
And beginning on Wednesday, September 16 at 9:30 a.m. we will begin a new weekday morning Bible study small group (The Study in the Study). We’ll begin by discussing your hopes for such a class, and then set a plan for the group.
So keep reading. And step up. You’re activity is important and necessary for your proclamation of the Gospel.
Clifton D. Eshbach