From the Pastor

October 2019

Every so often, someone will ask me, or it will be asked via a third-party conversation (which is mostly when this happens) questions like this: Why are we doing this or that? What is its purpose? I must admit to being slightly surprised by the question. After all, discipleship ought to be self-evident.

But since this is October, the month when we remember the beginning of the Reformation, a little Luther is helpful to answer this question:

“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor…He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor. Yet he always remains in God and in his love…” (Luther’s Works, 31. 371.)

This paragraph comes from Luther’s treatise, The Freedom of a Christian. This long writing can be condensed into a simple premise that a believing Christian is free from sin through faith in God, yet bound by love to serve the neighbor.

Where might Luther get such an idea? The same place we get our ideas of witness and service. The gospels. One example is Matthew 25:39-40, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

God’s family is pretty large. Our family members in Christ are across the street, and across the world. When we serve anyone, we serve Christ. If we remember to see Christ in our neighbor, we no long have to ask the questions “why” or “what.”

As Luther also said, “God does not need your good works. But your neighbor does.”

 

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor

 

From the Pastor

August 2019

The summer months involve both enjoying the time to be outside (the heat notwithstanding) and to think and plan for what is to happen in the near future. Here at Holy Spirit we are also doing both.

Our annual outdoor worship service on June 30 was a beautiful day to be among God’s creation. And the Tanzanian auction which followed was a great time of fun and fellowship. In July Vacation Bible School was a big hit (again). Children had fun and learned about how life with God is good, faithful and secure.

What a summer it has been. But what a future we are looking forward to experiencing. Planning is moving forward for the fourth annual Blessing of the Animals/Pet Extravaganza, which will be held on our driveway Saturday, September 28.  Since we began this event in 2016, it has evolved into a one-stop spot for the public to learn about organizations in our area which support pets and pet owners. This event is precisely the sort of community support which the church can provide. Save the date and show up!

Sunday, September 8 will be our annual Rally Day and God’s Work Our Hands service project when we assemble personal care and school kits for Lutheran World Relief. You can also join the quilt group as they put the finishing touches on some of their creations.

We are also using the Rally Day to observe the congregation’s 60th anniversary.  This day will provide an appropriate mix of things so that we can see where we were, and see where we can be headed. Save the date and show up!

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the church of Jesus Christ gathered at Holy Spirit. Together, we continue to fulfill our mission of Sharing Jesus’ Love in Word and Deed!

 

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor

 

From the Pastor

May 2019

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

The month of May is a busy one at Holy Spirit. Throughout the pages of this newsletter you will read about the things going on, as well as the things that are being prepared which will happen a little later in the year. Our life and ministry ebbs and flows over the course of the year. Right now there is a good bit of “flowing” as we will work together on several things this month.

One thing we should remember as we move through this month is that we continue to celebrate Easter. The season of Easter this year includes the entire month of May as well as the first Sunday in June. It reminds me a bit of Christmas time when we continually remember that the Christmas season is 12 days, not one. In the case of Easter, the celebration goes on seven weeks.

Continue to share the good news of new life in Jesus Christ through all of the Easter season and beyond. Continue to invite others to be part of the life and ministry of Holy Spirit, especially our worship life on Sunday morning.

Continue to remember that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor

 

PS – I also wish to thank everyone who worked very hard to create the wonderful environment for worship we experienced during, Lent, Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Your efforts provided all of us with meaningful worship, thereby linking us even closer with Christ. Thank you!

 

From the Pastor

April 2019

In legal jargon, discovery is the pretrial disclosure of pertinent facts or documents by one or both parties to a legal action. Information relevant to the case is shared.

“…on the first day of the week, at early dawn…” begins the discovery process as the faithful women approach the tomb of Jesus. Their discovery, which then preached to the disciples, was the pertinent fact that Jesus is no longer dead, but alive.

This news was unprecedented. It had never happened before. But recognition of the glorious event took time to sink in. In John’s gospel Mary Magdalene does not recognize Jesus at first. In Luke’s gospel, the two men walking on the road to Emmaus do not recognize Jesus until after he breaks the bread. And back to John’s gospel, Thomas does not recognize Jesus until a week later.

Today, how will people recognize the risen Christ? Yes, we do meet Jesus in his body, the church. Yes, we do meet Jesus in the bread and wine of his meal, given and shed for us.

But there is another yes we must remember. Yes, the world meets Jesus through who we are. Through how we carry on his ministry of inclusion, justice and grace throughout the world.

We believe that the resurrection is not an historical event to be remembered, but a living word of hope to a world that needs the healing, strengthening touch of Jesus. You and I are the living answer to Mary Magdalene’s question, ‘Where have you taken him?”  In our love, witness and service we take the risen Christ far and wide.

It is a discovery to be shared.

He is risen indeed!

 

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor

 

From the Pastor

March 2019

There are many ways to transmit news. Especially today. When we speak to another person, our tone of voice and our facial expressions reveal as much as the content we are sharing. So it is with our expression of the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news, the essence of Christianity, remains the same, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” And during the course of the year, we express this truth in different ways.

Such is the case with the season of Lent. While we may bury the “alleluia” for the season, we do not bury Jesus. Because Jesus is not dead. The fact that Jesus died and did not stay dead is the good news we are constantly called to share. Emmanuel, God with us, is a familiar call in Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. But it also has great relevance during Lent.

In Lent, the church calls attention to practices of sacrifice, fasting, unconditional giving and love. The liturgy is changed to give attention to these themes. In many ways the church, and its worship during Lent, reminds us of ourselves. Exposed. Bruised. Facing our mortality. And knowing that we are in need of facing these things honestly, our God understands and follows us on this journey.

In Lent, we may move from a major key to a minor key, but we still sing the same song. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor