The final sermon in our “We Believe” sermon series on The Apostles’ Creed takes us this weekend to the third section of the affirmation, which lifts up our belief in the Holy Spirit, the universal church, the forgiveness of our sins, and the resulting gift of everlasting life. The seemingly separate clauses in this portion of the creed are actually connected by the themes of reconciliation and redemption. The Holy Spirit through the believers (the church) invites us to have faith in the One who forgives, restores, and gives eternal life.
We conclude the messages based on what we say we believe just in time for the beginning of Lent, when for 40 days we live into our belief. It all begins on Ash Wednesday when we confess our sins, as well as our longing for freedom from their consequences, which is death. This Lenten season we invite you to move deeper into your faith, which we so often experience only on the superficial level. Slogans and trite overused sayings appear in our texts, our emails, and on our vehicle bumpers. The title of the new sermon series is “Honk if you Love Jesus! Beyond Bumper Sticker Faith.” We will be asking whether or not the slogans of our faith really speak to the depth of the desires of our hearts and the teaching of Jesus.
This year, for the first time since we arrived here at St. Luke’s, Kim and I will not be present for Ash Wednesday. We join the rest of our immediate family in flying to the Bahamas, where our younger daughter, Meredith will be married to her fiancé, Mark Summersgill. Meredith is an Interior Designer for the Tavistock Company, assigned to their Albany resort community on New Providence island. Their private sunset service on the beach is something they have both imagined since they were young. Our older daughter, Kristin, is a partner in her own event management company, so the only thing I have had to do is write checks and give credit card information! (Oh yeah, and get a beige seersucker suit!)
Pastor Corey and I will be preaching this week on Acts chapter 1, where Jesus, just prior to his ascension says to the disciples, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” We will also be answering some more of those questions you asked the pastors in January, such as: “What do we mean by the holy catholic church?” “What kind of communion do the saints have?” “What will we look like when we get to heaven? Will we recognize each other?” The Creed suggests some answers to these questions, as the tradition of the Church has been developed across the centuries, and we will share some of what we can. But know that for every one of these questions, shelves of books have been written! All the more reason to come get the abbreviated answers on Sunday!
Remember, it’s notST LUKE’SwithoutU, Bill
PS: Happy Valentine’s Day. We will celebrate the love and faithfulness of one of our eldest members, Jo DeHart at a Memorial Service at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, February, 14. Jo passed away this past Sunday, just shy of her 97th birthday. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the St. Luke’s Commit Campaign/Contemporary Worship space. Jo was passionate about completing this project.