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Worship Preview June 4th, 2023 "The Spirit of Glory is Upon You!"

Scriptures: Philippians 3:4b-16, and 1 Peter 4:7-19 – with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. Sunday at 10:30am

The last several weeks, we have been talking about spiritual gifts and being the body of Christ. Last Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost. 50 days after Easter and the well-known story from Acts 2 of the Spirit being poured out. Acts 2 quotes the prophet Joel and talks of “last days” and “portents in heaven.” We often take such references as destruction – yet the story is cited as good news. The Apostle Peter cites it to explain what is happening – the disciples filled with the Holy Spirit, Jews gathered from across the known world hearing the good news in their own language, their own way. Not in the common tongue of Greek but in their native tongues. Change and growth can be frightening and difficult and the language of tests and trials is often helpful, especially if we see the hope of transformation and renewal in them.

In both Joel and Acts, I believe the “tongues of fire” are good news. Fire as purifying and renewing. Two weeks ago we heard the story of Elijah being “taken up” with another image of fire. The mantel was passed. And we have heard from Jesus promise that believers will have “living water” flow from them – not of our own power, but as another symbol or metaphor for the power of the Holy Spirit. Wind. Flame. Water.

All Scripture is God breathed. Inspired. We humans are made in the image of God. We are, when walking on God’s paths, inspired. Sunday we will continue to ponder our paths, our stories, and who we are in Christ as we continue to celebrate Pentecost and the movement of the Spirit among us. We’ll hear from Philippians, a message of joy and hope even in the face of uncertainty for Paul. He writes it as a farewell, a passing of the mantle, in case he doesn’t survive his imprisonment. He writes of striving towards righteousness and resurrection, not of his own power, but because Christ dwells in him. Interestingly, one commentator sees parallels in this section to the journey Elijah and Elisha take. 1 Peter also speaks of such a journey and calls us to be faithful even when confronted with test, suffering and trials we don’t understand. We are called to walk with Elisha, with Peter and Paul, and with all those who have gone before, not because they had everything figured out or had achieved perfection, but because they are part of the people of God prepared to “be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed!”

Wherever you are on your own journey of faith, you are invited to join in worship and celebration at 10:30am at 301 S. National, coming just as you are, with your questions, doubts, and hopes - and to find purpose, explore your own gifts and graces and experience the fullness of Christ’s transformative, healing love and grace - which makes us whole.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, June 7, 5:30 pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. Note: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you.

Walk the Labyrinth! –Exploring the labyrinth is a great way to enjoy beautiful spring days. A walking labyrinth is a single path to the center, there are no wrong turns or dead ends. The labyrinth at 3rdand Crawford is open to all and you can use it to pray, discern, or just enjoy a stroll.

Next week, June 11th, we will join together in one worship service with our neighbors at 1stPresbyterian, 10:30am in their sanctuary at 3rdand Crawford to hear from Pastor Darryl Burton about his faith story. Pastor Burrton previously served 24 years for a crime he did not commit and came to faith in Christ during that nightmare, experiencing freedom in Christ long before the physical locks of the prison were opened. Pastor Burton is now an associate Pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. We are thrilled to have him share his witness here in Fort Scott on this special shared Sunday! Then June 18th, we’ll be back in our Sanctuary to celebrate the Appalachian Service Project mission trip just returned from Kentucky!

Vacation Bible School is coming – June 26th – 30th from 5:30-8. Join us at First Presbyterian for “Ready, Set, MOVE – Following Jesus Here, There, and Everywhere. Contact either church office for registration information.

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