Pentecost Sunday

pentecostThis Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.
   We celebrate the birthday of the church
   on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit
   created this community of believers
   who became organized to do the
   work of God’s kingdom on earth.
Just what is this work?
   Let me tell you what the church
   has done for me.
When I was in the nursery, Mrs. Lucy
   gave me a lap to sit on while she
   praised me for little kid stuff, at
   Beargrass Christian Church in
   Louisville. I discovered the church
   to be a welcoming and warm place.
When I was scheduled to go to the
   Mayo Clinic for tests, Dr. Walter
   Lawrenson, my pastor, brought a
   plastic car and gave it to me. I still
   have that car. I discovered the
   church would come when I needed
   the church to be there for me – at
   age 4.
When we moved to Corbin, the first
   Sunday we were there, my parents
   joined the church and I stood with
   them. I learned how friendly and
   inclusive the church could be. We
   were taken in and made a part
   from the first day we were there.
First Christian in Corbin took me to
   Camp WaKonDaHo where I had
   more fun than you can imagine.
   I learned it is o.k. to laugh till
   you can’t breathe and be able to
   call it holy.
Once, I quit going to youth group.
    Don’t know why. But a weekend
   Youth minister named Steve Miller,
   woke me up one Saturday morning
    by stopping by the house, just to tell
   me I was missed. I learned the church
   would rescue me when I drifted away.
   The rest is history.
Steve was unapologetic and radical
   in his faith. He took Jesus at his
   word about love, reconciliation,
   joy and so much more.
   I learned we could talk about
   absolutely anything at church.
   His opinions and theological views
   were fresh and most made a lot of
   sense to me. I needed to know there
   was somewhere to go where I could
   talk about anything.
There were names of pastors who
   touched my life or indirectly the life
   of my family named Russell, McCuddy,
   Huie, Dudley, Wolfe, Ryle, Fisher,
   Wise, VanNostrand and Lawrenson.
   They were people of faith, kind and of
   good humor. They took their work
   seriously, but themselves not so much.
The church was there when Susan and I
   were married at First Baptist, Somerset,
   by Taylor and Gates. The community
   showed up as well.
The church stood by us with a fund for
   Chad when he needed surgery, served
   food and offered comfort when mom
   and dad died. Dad’s pastor was there
   waiting when I arrived after
   mom had died. Dozens of people from
   First Christian, Paris, came all the way
   to Somerset for the visitation and funeral.
In the eighties, people drove 10 hours to
   Birmingham just to be with us on the day
   of his serious surgeries. I will never forget that.
The church paid for most all of my
   Seminary expenses through scholarships.
I have been fortunate to serve churches
   where many people live their faith,
   pray for guidance as leaders, approach
   controversy attempting to respect both
   sides and make decisions carefully and
   with integrity.
 My grandfather Smith was a resident of
   and received great care at a Christian
   Care Communities facility, supported
   by the church.
My dad was an elder, my mom a
   church secretary.
The church introduced me to a book
   I now cherish for the richness and
   relevance of its message.
I was allowed to become a part of the
   ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ
   through the Christian Church
   (Disciples of Christ) in the United States
   and Canada and through the support
   of First Christian, Somerset, and the
   Christian Church in Kentucky.
My best and most trusted friends have
   come through association with the church.
   I attended Transylvania,
   a church related college.
The church has given me the tools to lead
   a good and fulfilling life.
I will serve Jesus Christ, through the church,
   with my time, talent and money until I
   take my last breath.
Come celebrate Pentecost with us this Sunday!

Moving to the deeper places,
Jeff