Lent and Easter

We have almost reached the end of the forty days of Lent, the season of soul-searching and repentance; the season for reflection and taking stock. Many of us have completed reading our daily Scripture lessons. If you didn't have the opportunity to read them during Lent, I would still suggest them as relevant any time during the Christian year.

In just less than one week, we begin the season of Easter. Easter is a period of time rather than just a day. It is actually a seven-week season of the church year called Eastertide, the Great Fifty Days that begins at sundown the evening before Easter Sunday and lasts for six more Sundays until Pentecost Sunday. These seven Sundays are called the Sundays of Easter, climaxing on the seventh Sunday, the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday, Ascension Day. Ascension Day marks not only the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but his exaltation from servanthood to Ruler and Lord as the fitting climax of Resurrection Day (Ephesians 1:20-22).

The Lectionary readings during the Sundays of Easter are different, with readings from the Acts of the Apostles replacing readings from the Old Testament. This emphasizes that the church, as empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, is the best witness to the resurrection and the work of God in the world in Jesus the Christ. Thus, instead of reflecting, we need to be looking ahead to our visions and missions for Berlin Center and LeValley. Do we know where we are headed? Does our vision concur with God's will for us? Have we solidified our core values? Do we even know what defines core values? We will spend time mulling over these important issues during the next few months. I will address one or more each month in future newsletters.

Old-Fashioned Tent Revival

It is more than two months away, but it is time to mark your calendars and invite family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, everyone you encounter to the Berlin Center United Methodist Church Old-Fashioned Tent Revival scheduled for the evenings of Thursday and Friday, June 14th and 15th. If the Holy Spirit is moving and we think we are being called to a third service on Saturday, the 16th, my colleagues, Pastors David Lunsford of Tennessee and James Black of Mississippi are willing to preach for a third night. There will also be food and music.

Are you interested in the history of and the current status of revivals? The following article was printed in Appalachian History Weekly in 2016.

The first camp meeting took place in July 1800 at Gasper River Church in southwestern Kentucky. A much larger one was held at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in August 1801, where between 10,000 and 25,000 people attended, and Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist ministers participated. It was this event that stamped the organized revival as the major mode of church expansion for denominations such as the Methodists and Baptists, who were newly converted by the teachings of John Wesley.

“The significant and most recurring theme in mountain preaching,” according to Deborah McCauley, author of Appalachian Mountain Religion, “is that of a broken heart, tenderness of heart, a heart not hardened to the Spirit and the Word of God. Mountain people teach through their churches that the image of God in each person lives in the heart, that the Word of God lodges itself in the heart, and the heart is meant to guide the head, not the other way around.”

Music, Music, Music

I would like to put together a list of the favorite hymns and praise songs for each congregation. Please write down your favorites, as many as you would like, and get them to me. I will share the list in a future newsletter and use your suggestions as the worship committee and I plan the music for worship. Also, if you know of individuals and groups who might like to share special music with us during worship, please let me know.

From the Pew to the Pulpit

Do you have a particular Scripture you would like to have interpreted in a future sermon? Do you have a sermon topic you would like me to preach on in the future? I would like to do a sermon series titled From the Pew to the Pulpit during ordinary time on the 2018 Christian calendar which will run from May 20th through November 25th. I will make the series as long as I have Scriptures or topics from which to preach. Put your thinking caps on. I look forward to receiving your ideas.

 Pastor Nancy

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