From the Pastor's Desk...
Dear friends of New Carlisle First UMC,
Springtime in Ohio brings with it a burst of new life. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and warmer. People just seem to be more active and enjoy getting around more. I remember my mother suggesting to my siblings and me that when the birds chirp so cheerfully in the early days of spring, they are calling the joyful news of Easter: "He is risen! He is risen!" I think that's a nice way to look at it. We recall Jesus' words, "If these were to remain silent, the stones would cry out." Let's sing with the birds!
By this time most of us will have started mowing our lawns again, cultivating our flower and vegetable gardens if we have them, and anticipating our summer activities. We prepare to honor the mothers in our lives, and to remember those brave men and women who lost their lives while serving in the military during war time. The end of May signals the beginning of the summer season. The next several months are bright with the hope of living life as fully as we are able while the weather allows us to do so. Thank God for spring!
In the life of the church, we celebrate the Sundays following Easter that lead us to the celebration of Pentecost on June 4th. Pentecost has been described as the birthday of the Church. In the joy and power of the promised Holy Spirit, the apostles and other disciples proclaimed the Good News: the Gospel about Jesus Christ. They announced the gift of new life in his name to all who would listen. The early church was bursting with the joy of that new life. They were a winsome bunch. We find their story in the biblical book known as The Acts of the Apostles.
We have much to learn from this book that records our earliest Christian heritage, history, and tradition. We are both thrilled and shocked by the unfolding of the life of the first generation of the church. The band of disciples was still puzzling over the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. His words instructing them about all that had happened to him were indeed a challenge! In Acts, chapter 1, Jesus gives them final instructions about their mission and how they were to continue what he himself had begun by announcing the entry of God's kingdom into the world. Their mission would take them to places they'd never dreamed of going. But they were to wait in Jerusalem for what Jesus called "the promise of the Father". Jesus was telling them to wait till the Spirit of God came upon them. The Spirit of Christ would remain with them forever and propel them forward in the pursuit of Christ's Great Commission of taking the gospel to the world.
It has been said that the Church of Jesus Christ exists by mission, and if we lose our sense of mission and purpose we thereby lose our identity as the church. We have claimed our own sense of mission: to know God and share God's love with others through word and service. We are challenged to be a thriving and vibrant congregation of worshiping people who love and serve others together in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ. In the power and guidance of the same Holy Spirit of Pentecost, we can do just that.
Yours in Christ's love,