Greetings friends. This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, which is the time in which we celebrate the formation of the church. In congruent with that, your church session this past Sunday met, and this coming Sunday, we will also return to our sanctuary for worship. We were excited about this opportunity and you can watch another video along with this one that will tell you more about the protocols and what you can expect upon returning inside for worship for the first time in more than 14 months. Because we are celebrating Pentecost, will be focusing on the passage from Acts chapter two, this is a famous passage. And the one piece of this passage that I liked the most is verse six that talks about how even though people came from all over the world and from different parts and spoke different languages, they could hear each other, even though they were speaking in their own native tongue.

And that’s much akin to what we are doing right now and frankly, what we do each and every day. For even though you and I largely speak the same language, we do speak it in different ways and we have different ways of hearing it. I think of religion first and foremost, there are several different flavors of Christianity for which you can abide in and can participate in. I think of politics. I think of our cultural experiences and how that shapes us and how we have different understandings of those experiences and what you’re going to see this coming Sunday, is how we are also responding individually in different ways to this pandemic. And we understand that, and I think the Holy Spirit understood that as well. And that’s why the church, even though we spoke so many different languages at its formation, could hear each other.

I think it’s a comment about empathy, about compassion, and about the hope that we can find in the church that separates us from the rest of the world. So I hope you will join us this coming Sunday, 11:00 AM and find out more in our upcoming video on the different protocols that we will have as you return to in-person worship. And hopefully a little bit closer to normality. Grace and peace. —Barrett


This Sunday, as we return to indoor worship, the featured music for this week is none other than “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” That’s hymn number 464 in case you want to get a headstart. The hymn to joy of course needs no introduction as most all of us know it from Beethoven’s ninth symphony; but it’s a wonderful chorus, and I look forward to sharing that and much more with you this Sunday. —Matthias


Now friends, we move from scripture and song into prayer. Let us go to God together as we pray for our worship service this week, and as we celebrate the birth of the church. Oh God, how great is your love and how wide is your mercy. We pray that we never board up the narrow gate that leads to life. That you give us a spirit to welcome all people with affection so that your church may never exclude any friends of yours who were included in the love of Jesus Christ, who comes for each and every one of us. Oh, God. Be with us this week. As we prepare our hearts to worship you and as we are called back to this place, that is our home away from home. In your name. Amen. —Isaac