From the Pastor …
April 30, 2012
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The beginning of a new calendar year is often a time when people look to the future with hope-filled anticipation. For some there is a New Years Resolution involved. A bad habit they would like to break, or some healthier practice they would like to establish. If the year that is ending has been particularly difficult – with the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or having to relocate – there may be a wish that one’s life will now settle down and become more stable. When that new calendar goes up on the wall, it can serve as a symbol of expectancy and optimism for what is yet to come.
In the church, the new year officially begins a little earlier – with Advent at the beginning of December. But when January rolls around soon thereafter, it can still represent “newness” in our life of faith. Some people may decide that starting on 1-1-2008, they will set aside some time every day for prayer and Bible reading. Others may make a commitment to some form of Christian service over the course of the next 12 months. Or perhaps there will be a renewed effort at controlling one’s temper or being more generous.
“Newness” of life is one way of describing what it means to be a follower of Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17) In an ultimate sense, being saved from the power of sin and death when we come into relationship with Christ through baptism. And in an ongoing manner, as we grow and mature in our life of faith. In the latter case, “newness” may take a variety of forms from one person to the next, and what is new in the life of each individual may vary in form from one year to the next. But the overall theme or characteristic of living in relationship with Jesus, has to do with ongoing renewal and revitalization.
There also happens to be something new on the horizon for us as a community at Holy Cross: the start of a third worship service. Beginning on February 23rd there will be another opportunity each weekend for people to gather to sing, pray, hear God’s Word, and receive communion. The Saturday evening time frame (5:30-6:15 pm), and more informal/contemporary style, will serve to broaden the worship life of our congregation – adding a new option to what is already available on Sunday mornings.
This will no doubt be a challenging venture in faith. But as we step out in this new direction, we do so with the conviction that it represents a way for us to minister to and with a broader spectrum of people: those for whom a more formal worship style isn’t very familiar or meaningful; those who have work or sports commitments on Sundays; those who for medical reasons have difficulty attending a service in the morning.
The hope with a third service is that it will help us to grow as a congregation. Though some people who now worship at 8:00 or 10:45 am on Sunday may choose to “try out” the Saturday service, or even attend it on a regular basis, we will be looking closely at whether the third service actually helps us to minister to a broader range and number of people. The hope is that a new worship opportunity will be one way in which we can minister to new people. Because new life in Christ, is something we want to share with others. It is the good news of God’s love and forgiveness, poured out freely through his son Jesus. The message and experience of God’s grace, is what so many in our world desperately need.
We have good reason at Holy Cross to look forward to the New Year of 2008 with a sense of expectancy and optimism – specifically in terms of a third worship service, and also in regard to everything else that is part of the ministry we carry out in the name of, and to the glory of, Christ.
Blessings to you in this New Year of hope-filled anticipation,
ASSOCIATE IN MINISTRY RELECTIONS
Even as the last of the Christmas candles burn down their wicks or get packed away for use again next year, the light of the world, Jesus the Christ, continues to manifest himself in our lives. His wick burns bright throughout eternity, never flickering or diminishing in intensity. His light is cast over the darkness of our world, bringing hope, comfort, and peace, even in the deepest shadows of sin or bleakest corners of sorrow or longest lonely nights of winter. This light can be seen as reflected in the happy faces of children and in the kind hearts of those who care for others. It shines brightly where two or three are gathered and Jesus is in their midst.
For far too many, the light of Jesus has become hidden and even snuffed out. Where is the light of Jesus in your life? Is it burning bright, bringing light and joy everywhere you go? Or is it packed away, only to be lit on special occasions? Are you so burdened and busy that your eyes are closed to its radiance? Is it only a dim recollection of happier times or unfulfilled dreams? The light of Jesus has not diminished. It is there for the asking. Pray, read God’s Word, come to worship, join in fellowship and service. The Holy Spirit will fill your heart and brighten your days with the light and love of our Savior. Karen
MESSAGE FROM A COUNCIL MEMBER
Submitted by Dorothy Haws. It is from an e-mail that she received (written by Jane Biron).
This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so
that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith," in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I am wherever there is love.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
By Donna Simmons
Call a friend and truly listen.
Email someone you are missing.
Smile at the checkout clerk
In the long line at the store.
Give a ride to someone else.
Feed the birds a little more.
Hug someone with sad eyes,
Then send a card to surprise.
Pray together when need is great;
Pray again, it's not too late.
Share your pantry, your boxes and cans;
Feed the hungry; then hold a hand.
Give blood to a stranger you've never met
Walk your neighbor's furry pet
Run an errand for someone new,
Knit a scarf for the homeless, too.
Bring lunch to an elderly shut-in.
Invite a neighbor to share a meal.
Take an hour and make a new friend.
The kindness you give is the kindness you feel.
Read a story to the blind.
Hold a door open for the one behind.
Sing a song.
Visit a nursing home;
It won't take long.
Do chores for someone else.
Drive someone who's sick to the doctor.
Bring tea and cookies to share
With someone who needs your laughter.
Cook for someone who can't,
Pick up what someone else dropped,
Remember when kindness is received,
Paid forward, it can not be stopped.
Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day. ~Author Unknown
RIDE TO RESCHEDULED CHRISTMAS CONCERT
If you are in need of a ride to the concert on January 6th at 4:00, please contact Mary Keating or Karen as we have drivers lined up to bring you to and from church.
CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE YEARS
On January 6, - Epiphany – Holy Cross will have a concert with a 30-voice combined choir, made up of the Holy Cross Choir, Ogunquit Baptist Church Choir, and several outstanding solo performers. The Coastal Brass Quintent will be playing, and there will be some lovely flute solos as well. Warren King will be playing the organ, trumpet and piano. Larry Downing and Jim Wiggins, both of Ogunquit Baptist, will be directing the choir and providing piano accompaniment, respectively. The acoustics are great and the program excellent, with delightful music from the Renaissance to current composers.
Admission is open to all. Suggested donation is $10 for adults, $5 for children and the elderly. Please bring a non-perishable food item for the York County Food Bank.
Hope to you there! It will be a wonderful experience!
We currently have some shut-ins who would welcome visitation. If you have some spare time in which you could sit and chat, even if only occasionally, please contact Karen or the church office and we will get you the name of someone who would appreciate a visit.
The Worship Committee has been discussing the possibility of using loaves of baked bread instead of the pita for Communion. Beginning on Sunday, January 6th, we will use baked bread on a trial basis during the season of Epiphany. Vi Stephens has graciously offered to bake the bread for this trial period. During the offertory song, the bread will be brought forward as an offering by the second worship assistant, while the usher brings forward the financial offering.
YOUNG AT HEART
Please join us for a Progressive Dinner on Saturday, January 26th. We will begin at 3:30 with appetizers, followed by a main course, and ending with dessert. Transportation will be provided for all. Please sign up on the board in the Narthex. Snow date will be February 3rd.
On February 9th from 9-2, we will be having a consultation on the use of projection equipment, downloading information and clips from web sites, using power point, and other related topics. This consultation will be led by Chris Indorf, technology instructor at Thornton Academy, and sponsored by our Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, funded by Lily Foundation. This consultation will assist us in the development of our third service, but will also have multiple uses in the life of the congregation. Anyone interested in learning more about the use of technology in a congregation is welcome. Lunch is included. Please sign up in advance on the board in the Narthex so that the consultant and meal planners can prepare accordingly. Snow date is February 16th.
HOLY CROSS AUCTION
Set aside the date of Friday, February 8th, for a fun filled evening of fellowship and fund raising for our third service video equipment. We will begin at 6:00 with a potluck dinner followed by games and movies for children, while older youth and adults keep their hands in their pockets or high in the air as we auction off goods and services to the highest bidder. We are seeking donations of services such as preparing a special meal, baking a pie or special dessert, mowing a lawn, shoveling snow, assisting with minor home repairs, an evening of child care, etc. etc. We will also accept donations of new/like-new items suitable for auction, from individuals or from businesses. This might include gift cards, fruit baskets, consultations, etc. Snow date is Friday, February 15th. There are two sign up sheets in the Narthex – one for donating goods and/or services; the other for attending the potluck/auction.
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.”