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

 

From the Pastor

February 2019

Invite: “To request formally,” “to request the presence or participation of.”

In mid-January, the adult class discussed this word, invite, and what it means within the context of Christian community. What we discovered is that there is “more than meets the eye” than the dictionary definitions listed above.

After all when we invite someone to be with us at church, we are asking them to become part of something more than a nice place to be. We are asking them to be part of an intentional Christian community, in the Lutheran tradition, which worships God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by which we connect with God through word and sacraments, and are prepared and energized to give witness to our faith through service in the world.

It is a big step for someone to listen to and accept such an invitation. And it can be a challenging conversation to have with another person. After all, one’s faith journey can be complicated.

But having these inviting conversations are something we are called to do. That’s why during this year, we are going to take some time to discuss Christian invitation, and how we can be best prepared to share our own story, as we invite others to share theirs. I invite your presence at these conversations. After all personal contact between people is still considered the best method for introducing someone into a faith community.

Holy Spirit has much to share. And we will share that story with everyone we invite, during this important year of our 60th anniversary.

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor

 

From the Pastor

October 2018

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,

Pastor