The other day I was thinking about what other churches are doing to generate enthusiasm and growth. I'd like to start a new series of entries on this blog, appropriately titled "The Spotlight". This series would contain the great things that are going on in our churches within the Southern Maryland Emmaus community! I'm asking all church POC's to look around at some of the great things going on and send them to me and we'll figure out a way to promote these great activities.
With the issuance of new Reunion Group cards by the Upper Room -- in which the Prayer to the Holy Spirit has two word changes, we thought it a good time to share some background with regard to the Prayer to the Holy Spirit. The words that have been changed are in parenthesis, and is immediately followed by the new word. The revised prayer is, therefore, much more personal.
"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in (them) us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and (they) we shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy your consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."
In explaining the format of the weekly group reunion, it is written, "The group begins the meeting by reciting the prayer on the card. The 'Prayer to the Holy Spirit' is a centuries-old prayer paraphrase of Psalm 104:30, which celebrates God's sovereignty over humanity and the Spirit's recreative work in this world.
The opening prayer is a reminder that the reason for meeting is not only to be with one another; it is to gather with openness to the renewing presence of the Holy Spirit. The prayer signifies the group members' recognition that the Spirit accompanies them in their daily walk and in their weekly gathering, just as the spirit of Jesus accompanied the two disciples on the walk to Emmaus that first Easter afternoon."
Ref: Emmaus Library Series booklet, The Group Reunion, page 17.
I just wanted to make a brief comment that this spring's Men's Walk went very well. I spoke with several members of the walk and the weekend Lay Director, Dean Gass, and everyone said it was a great time!
I was really impressed with the way all of the weekend activities went. They were very smooth, and it was quite evident that Len Lent and Chester Willett (and countless others) did a fantastic AGAPE job!
Two thousand years ago a young boy was probably playing in the villages in what is now Israel. He didn't celebrate Christmas at the time, he didn't ask for gifts or toys to be given to him, he didn't ask to see Santa Claus. He didn't need diamond and gold jewelry or fancy clothes to impress others. He was content spending his time growing up and teaching others about humility. I can imagine that life must have been difficult for this young boy because he knew everything. In time, the young boy knew what the future held, and he graciously accepted his role.
He lived in a time where there was no central heat, no automobiles, no television, no computers or MP-3's, and he had no shopping malls to hang out at. He was not greedy, and he shared everything he had. All he had was his family, friends, and strangers to keep him company. He spent the next several years talking with people about faith, and the need for doing what was right. Toward the end of his life, he had people coming from miles around to hear him talk about life and how they should live. He became quite popular, and before long, the people would turn on him. Ultimately, the people would demand his death.
He gave so others would be forgiven for their sins. He put up with intolerable pain so that others would not have to suffer. Jesus gave his life to save humanity.
During this Christmas season, we should all take a moment to stop what we are doing and honor Jesus by saying "thank you." We should take the time to say some kind words to our neighbors and to strangers on the streets. We should take some time to reflect back on our lives and say "thank you" for the gifts and talents that we have. We need to take a moment to say "what can I do different to help others in need?" We should be grateful for our lives, our families, our friends, and for our abilities to provide for others. To give ourselves, in remembrance of Him.
Rev. Dr. Bruce Jones found a wonderful song on YOU TUBE that he shared with members of La Plata UMC, and I'd like to pass this on to the Southern maryland Emmaus community as well.
For everyone in the Southern Maryland Emmaus commuunity, I pray that you and your families have a wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!
Could you please pray for my sister and me as we are trying to get the headstone for my mother's grave? We put down a down payment but still need $880 by January. We want to be able to just walk up to her grave without trying to remember where it is. God is good. Thank you.