Celebrations of thanksgiving, especially for harvests, have been held by cultures throughout history. In our national history, we know that services were held by both Spaniards and the French in the 16th century and were held in what became Virginia as early as 1607. The Virginia Historical Society states that in 1619, a group settled in Berkeley Hundred in Virginia were bound by their charter to keep the day of their arrival as a holy “day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Continue reading →
People of Hope,
We are in the midst of several momentous occasions as a congregation. We are commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a call process, and the beginning of the Lenten season. When things seem to be most in flux, it is often helpful to return to our roots, remembering Whose we are as we determine where we are headed. This is the focus of the season. Lent calls us to reflect on our relationships With God, one another, and the world around us. It helps us see where we are conforming to the likeness of Christ and where we need to do better. Continue reading →
In the sermon this past week, I referenced an historic prayer within the Methodism. It is traditionally said as part of a Watch Night service held on New Year’s Eve. Although I have not kept up with the practice of that particular service, I have found that renewing my covenant with God through the use of this prayer to be of great value in my pastoral and familial life. I have prayed this prayer annually, as a part of a sermon on prayer, and we have received innumerable requests for the prayer to be published. May it be a blessing for you as it has been for me, my family, and the church of my birth for many years. Continue reading →
Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks, was the second of three major Jewish festivals. It marked both the presentation of first fruits of the harvest to the Lord and also giving of the Law (Torah) through Moses to the people.
Hellenistic Jews called it Pentecost because it took place fifty days after the Passover. It was a celebration that was being held in Jerusalem at the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon and filled the disciples. We should not miss the significance of the Holy Spirit’s presence for Christians as it lines up with the giving of the Law to the Hebrew nation. Continue reading →