Thursday, May 28, 2020

This Week Old South Haven Church

Dear Friends and Members of Old South Haven Church,
Again, I am writing to invite you to join us this coming Sunday for our Zoom Church Service.   This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday; and if you are able, try to wear something red
Information for joining the service is below.
God Bless,
Pentecost Sunday…a time to celebrate
 "With the descent of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus, a Judaic
harvest festival takes on new meaning" 
May 27, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Presbyterian Church,
This week's letter is very Biblical. There is a reason for that in that we Christians often forget what we learned in Sunday School, myself included.  Christmas and Easter are the two big Holy Days of Christianity. There is a third festive Holy Day and that is Pentecost, celebrated this Sunday.  Just as Memorial Day in the United States has become more of a vacation/beach day than a day of prayer and remembrance, Pentecost is just another feast day between Mother's Day and Father's Day. 
However, if you are aware of Pentecost, you will probably know of it as the day when the Holy Spirit of God came down to indwell the followers of Jesus. This is the day that the church, the "called-out ones" of God, was born. It is recorded in Acts chapter 2. On that day, the Spirit of God descended on the 120 followers of Jesus and they started speaking out loud in languages from around the world. This created such a commotion that thousands who were in Jerusalem at the time came out to see what was happening and in front of the gathering crowd, Peter spoke the first gospel message and 'three thousand were added to their number that day' (Acts 2:41). The number of gospel followers has been growing continually ever since that Pentecost Sunday.
This happened 50 days after Jesus' resurrection. It was during this 'quiet' interval of 50 days that Jesus' disciples became convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead. On Pentecost Sunday they went public and history was changed. Whether you believe in the resurrection or not, your life has been affected by the events of that Pentecost Sunday.
In fact, 'Pentecost' was a regular Old Testament festival. In the time of Moses, several annual festivals were prescribed and celebrated throughout the year. The festival of Passover was the first to be celebrated in the Jewish year.   Exactly 50 days after Passover Sunday the Jews celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. And they had been doing so yearly for 1500 years by the time the events of Acts 2 happened. In fact, the reason that there were people from all languages who were in Jerusalem that day to hear Peter's message was precisely because they were there to celebrate the Old Testament Pentecost.
In the Jewish feast of Pentecost the Jews were to offer up a grain offering along with the regular burnt offerings. The grain was to be 'first fruits' of new grain harvested from the land. This was an allusion – the depth of which was unseen by the first Jews from the time of Moses – of the coming of the Holy Spirit on that more famous Pentecost Sunday in Acts 2.
This is significant on several counts. First of all, one of the reasons that the Gospel is 'good news' is that not only is it about a conquering of death, but it is also about living life differently. Life is now a union between God and people. And this union takes place through the indwelling of the Spirit of God – which began on the Pentecost Sunday of Acts 2. The Good News is that life can now be lived on a different level, in a relationship with God through His Spirit. This challenges us not only to preach the Gospel, but to live and share the fruits of the Gospel.  As I have stated before, walking in the steps of our Lord we are missionaries here on "the island".  In the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic we are challenged to share his love while supporting those in need and those who are fearful.  Despite the continued need for social distancing, let us reach out and express the Christian love Jesus taught us to have.
Once again we invite you to join us at church, via zoom and the internet, this Sunday, May 31st  to celebrate Pentecost Sunday.  And, if you can at home, have a special First Fruits Pentecost Festive meal.
Peace, and please share your concerns and prayer requests with all of us, including the pastor.
Pastor Ralph
Rev. Ralph B. Wright, Jr.
516-606-7671 (cell); 631-289-5761 (home) or
:OSHC Sunday Worship Zoom Meeting
Time: May 31, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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