Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Bethany Bullet - May 7, 2013

Just imagine if the festivals of Christmas and Easter fell in the same month. On the home front we’d be dizzy, I’m sure, as we rushed from filling stockings that hung o’er the fireplace to filling plastic eggs to be hid around the house; but what about at church? Can you imagine the chaos if the two paramount festivals fell in the same month. I am sure that most congregational treasurers, office managers, usher leaders, bulletin folders, music ministers and preachers are quite glad that these top two festivals do not fall back to back.

Once upon a time in the history of the church two paramount festivals did fall back to back, not Christmas and Easter obviously, but two festivals that historically were seen and celebrated on equal, or even greater footing, than Christmas and Easter: Pentecost and Ascension.

Believe it or not once upon a time in the history of the church Pentecost was  celebrated with as much, if not more, vigor than Christmas. The birth of the church was viewed a gift worthy of as much joy as the birth of our Lord. In our ears today that might sound strange, even heretical, but the early church knew that the very reason the Lord was born was to give birth to the church, that is to grant fallen and lost sinners new birth and new life in God that was itself bestowed and nurtured in the body of Christ, His church. 

Believe it or not, once upon a time in the history of the church the Ascension or Our Lord was celebrated with as much fervent confidence as Easter. Our Lord’s return to heaven was seen as the final validation that what our Lord did on Easter (returning from the grave) had won us for God and would lead to His   return on the last day. In today’s world it appears laughable that a mid-week celebration (Ascension eve) in the heart of busy spring could even remotely equal the Sunday morning celebration (Easter morn) at the end of Lent. Yet, it too, like Pentecost and Christmas, was seen as a holistic event. Like John’s Gospel, the churches worship in earlier times, understood that Jesus who returned from the grave, did so to return to God, having finished His work, only to return again in the future to bring about the end of this age and the church militant so that He might usher in the unending age of the church triumphant.

We need not imagine, when we can simply receive – two paramount festivals in the church year that do fall back to back:
V  The Ascension (the final act of Easter) will be celebrated on Thursday, May 9th at 7:00PM at Bethany.
V  Pentecost Sunday (the result of Christmas) will be celebrated on Sunday, May 19th at 8:00, 9:30, & 10:55AM.
V  Also, please note that Sunday, May 26 is Holy Trinity Sunday.
 -Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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