Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
Tomorrow is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the “birthday” of the church. Traditionally we view Pentecost as the coming of the Holy Spirit. It’s worth noting that this remarkable experience occurred while Jesus’ followers “were together in one place.” Although profound spiritual experiences occur in private moments, the truly historical events of our faith usually occur in community where we share a common life together.
Pentecost has an older history than the birth of the church. Literally meaning “fifty days,” Pentecost concluded the Passover season and began the season of harvest known as the Festival of Weeks, one of the great holidays in Jewish life. Pentecost celebrated the first fruits or the spring grain harvest. Later, it came to be associated with the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai.
These older understandings of Pentecost richly underscore the importance of community. Reaping the spring grain harvest took the efforts of the whole community. Men and women vigorously participated in the various tasks that had to be accomplished in order to bring in the harvest. Without communal participation, the harvest could not be reaped. Reaping the harvest also required the help of the wind (ruach, the same word for spirit) which blew away the chaff from the grain at the threshing floor.
Living the life demanded by the Torah also took the efforts of the whole community. Six of the 10 commandments deal with how we treat one another. At its best, church is an experience of interdependence, where the Holy Spirit empowers us to live out our calling as disciples of Christ. We can’t live this life without one another and without the power of the Spirit. Authentic community always requires a commitment to interdependence and a responsibility to the “least of these.” Consistently, the Bible reminds us that we cannot love God unless we love our neighbor.
A Day of Celebrations: Homecoming, Baptism, Holy Communion
- In addition to Pentecost, Sunday will be our annual Homecoming. We will welcome back friends and family who join with us in worship to celebrate the rich spiritual heritage of CGUMC. Also during worship, we will celebrate the baptism of Amelia Doi – fittingly on her 1st birthday! Our worship service will conclude with Holy Communion as we come together as a community to the Lord’s Table. Following worship, we will gather together in the Fellowship Hall for a delicious covered dish lunch. Please plan to join us for this wonderful day of celebration and community!
Sunday’s sermon: “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- In Sunday’s sermon, we will conclude our series on the post-resurrection saying of Jesus, looking at Jesus’ words just prior to his ascension, “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus was preparing the disciples for the events of Pentecost, and his words resonate with us today as the fulfillment of the promise to send the Advocate and Comforter to be with us at every season of our lives. Please plan to join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday – and bring a friend with you!
Community Youth Group meets Sunday
- The Community Youth Group will meet from 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday to celebrate a wonderful year together with a hot dog cookout and homemade ice cream. Youth, please plan to join us!
Looking Ahead: Graduate Recognition Sunday June 2
- Graduate Recognition Sunday will be June 2. At the 10:30 a.m. worship service that day, we will honor our high school graduates. We also want to recognize in a special listing in the bulletin any relatives you have who are graduating this year. If you have a child, grandchild, spouse, cousin, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, or any other relative graduating from preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school or college, let us know about it! By May 29, we need the following information on each graduate: the name of the graduate, the place graduating from (with details on degree, diploma, etc.), your name and your relation to the graduate. You may turn this information in to the church office or email it to me. Congratulations to all our graduates at all levels this year!
- We collect canned fruit and other non-perishable items to support the food pantry at Orange Congregations in Mission throughout the year. Please remember to bring your OCIM offerings each week as a way of reaching out to brothers and sisters around us.
Operation Christmas Child
- Our year-long effort to support Operation Christmas Child continues as we work to meet our goal of 75 shoeboxes. Each month, we are collecting items that can be included in the shoeboxes. During May, we are collecting small stuffed animals for our OCC donations. We have a blue collection box near the basket where we collect our OCIM food offerings each Sunday. Just drop your Operation Christmas Child donations in the blue box after you’ve put your canned fruit or nonperishable items in the OCIM basket! Your gifts will show the love of Christ and the power of the gospel to a child or a family whose life you will indelibly touch, even though you may never meet them.
The Week Ahead at Anathoth Community Garden:
- Saturday: Community Workday, 9-1 p.m. with potluck afterward
- Tuesday: Community Workday, 5-8 p.m.
Have a wonderful day, and I am looking forward to a day of celebrations with each of you tomorrow!