Dear Faithful Followers of Jesus,

Week 11 — and it’s Pentecost!

Our scriptures say at Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes like wind; powerful and liberating. It comes like an earthquake; fearful, yet exhilarating. The Spirit comes like fire; burning away the impurities and igniting passion. It comes with the ability to transform strangers into community, foreign languages into a common voice. And with these dramatic signs God comes anew to the people; transforming the lives of all who are present, and far beyond, offers the promise to bless and shape the lives of God’s people as they engage in God’s mission for generations to come!

My friends, as we enter into the season of Pentecost, there is nothing ordinary about it! It’s extraordinary time, both in the reality we are living with the coronavirus and also as the Spirit pulls us forward into the fulfillment of all God promises; into realizing the dreams God has for us individually and corporately… into the fullness of all we could be… should be… can be!

The Spirit’s power is relevant… real… connects us to the past… engages us in the present… ignites us for the future. It’s the Holy presence that honours our roots… our history… our shared story! It’s the Holy’s power that boasts our waning energy, re-ignites our passion and commitment… so we can serve and shine, share and proclaim God’s love… Christ’s hope… as we grow in the likeness of Jesus and point others to him.

Amid the craziness of COVID, the Spirit is here! Pentecost is now! It didn’t just happen 2000 years ago. It is happening today! It’s the work of God in us and through us doing a new thing… bringing people together from diverse understandings… with diverse languages… and diverse experiences! It’s equipping us so we can form community that both hears each other, and can speak to each other… encourage each other… be with each other… support each other… pray for each other… love each other!

And then, inspired, challenged, and giddy with hope, we are called to go forth to share this Good News… to share Jesus, so others might experience what we know to be true; that God’s love brings forth new life new hope… new possibilities… that are not tied to wealth, status, health or worldly success… rather they are bound by LOVE!

Into our fragile existence, God offers us the Spirit of unity, not division… the Spirit that overcomes barriers and blows mightily in the midst of differences… the Spirit that puffs us up with dreams and hopes and visions of a better world… the Spirit of love that empowers and frees us to do and be all God imagines and desires. It’s the Spirit that invites a response… demands our action… and guarantees none of us will be remain unchanged!

So grumpy or grumbling… excited or engaged… frightened or fearless… ignited… intoxicated… the Spirit IS moving and the response is yours and mine to choose! As it was in the beginning… as it has been for all time… as it is now and in the future… our God is on the move… doing a new thing and I believe it is up to us, God’s beloved, to realize we should not… cannot… will not stand still!

Come, Spirit Come!
We ARE ready for you to change us and our world!

In Hope,
Sue


This link is to a thoughtful devotion/prayer by Rev Crameron Trimble about a world without handshakes.

And a link to recent webinars about all the things that must be prayerfully considered and discerned before “re-opening” can occur. Lots of insights!

And here are links to the latest info regarding COVID-19 from The United Church of Canada?

From the National Church
https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19 or

From our Horseshoe Falls Regional Council
https://hfrcucc.ca/
https://hfrcucc.ca/rcevents/news/


Worship Offerings/Opportunities

Bulletins, full worship liturgies, puzzles (2 sets! The Day of Pentecost and Filled with the Holy Spirit) are attached. If you know of someone who is shut-in or is technology challenged, please “be church” by connecting with them… sharing resources with them… celebrating communion with them (by phone & spirit!)! This Sunday is PENTECOST and we communion will be included in our worship! Bring grapes and crackers… wine and pita… taste and see God’s goodness in elements from your own kitchen!

June 7th we will celebrate The United Church of Canada’s 95th Anniversary with a service centered on the UCC Crest! On June 21st we will honour Aboriginal Sunday! On June 28th we will enjoy Pride Sunday! And we are looking forward to a Hymn Sing Sunday in July!! Please let Sue know your favourite hymns (and perhaps why they are your favourites) and she will craft as many as she can into a service of worship!

Here is the weekly link to on-line worship experiences from across Canada (397+)!

This week’s prayer as you journey… from our UCC Moderator, Rev Richard Bott

In the midst of the Pandemic,
the Holy Spirit came –
not like a dove, with flutter and coo,
but as a wind, a God-awe-full wind,
that blew through every corner and crevice,
with billows of dust flying from the traditions
that hadn’t been given even a once-over
in decades (if not hundreds) of years;
not like a still small voice,
but as an ever-burning bush,
a pillar of flame,
as a flash of love so powerful,
that even those of us with the most closed hearts knew
that everything was aglow,
everything was in the open,
everything was lit by the light of God’s grace,
the Holy Spirit’s power.

Perhaps, that Flame
will burn away our babble;
perhaps, that Wind
will force us to breath deep;
perhaps those Wings,
will mask our mouths,
even as they unmask our hearts;
that we might be ready
to live God’s economy –
where the naked are clothed,
the hungry fed,
the parched provided with cool water,
and – in Jubilee –
the abundance of creation
is removed from the grasp of those who amass,
that all of creation –
all our relations –
would have life.

Life.
In all its fullness.

Spirit of the Living God,
blow through our Upper Rooms.
Spirit of the Living God,
blow up our Marketplaces.
Spirit of the Living God,
blow in this Church dispersed –
and push us, again,
into who we truly are.

Spirit of the Living God,
Pentecost’s bright power,
fall afresh
on me.

Amen

Rev Richard Bott

Have a Spirit-filled week! Be well!
Your Sister in Christ and in Isolation,
Sue

Sue Cowan
Supply Minister
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches