My original plan for a blip was the Pentecost window in our church, shown on the left in my collage, but then when we were deciding what to do for some exercise this afternoon, and we thought of cycling, I thought of cycling through the village of Oregonia, where my attention is always drawn to this cute little country chapel, with the Cross and Flame emblem of the United Methodist Church, so I decided to include that too, since the flame is also connected to Pentecost.
On Pentecost Sunday, we remember the day the disciples received the Holy Spirit in a special way. The story in Acts 2 speaks of a powerful wind and tongues of fire as the Holy Spirit was poured out on people from all over the world who came to Jerusalem to celebrate a Jewish feast. On that first day, over 3000 people were baptized, creating the first church. Hence, Pentecost is known as the birthday of the Christian church.
“The word Pentecost comes from a Greek word meaning fiftieth. The Jewish Festival of Pentecost (called Shavuot, meaning "weeks" in Hebrew) falls on the fiftieth day after the original Passover. On that day, God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Christian festival of Pentecost falls on the 50th day after the resurrection of Jesus.”
The current emblem of the United Methodist Church had its birth soon after the union of two denominations in 1968: The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and interestingly this chapel has a plaque over the door, identifying it as a United Brethren church, dated 1873.
Following many conceptualizations, a traditional symbol—the cross—was linked with a single flame with dual tongues of fire. The resulting insignia is rich in meaning. It relates The United Methodist church to God through Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame) The flame is a reminder of Pentecost, but is also reminiscent of a transforming moment in the life of Methodism's founder, John Wesley, when he sensed God's presence and felt his heart "strangely warmed." The two tongues of a single flame may also be understood to represent the union of two denominations.
Our service this morning was bittersweet, uplifting in the celebration of Pentecost, but also sad, since the handbells playing this morning was the last live music to be conducted by Dan or Debbie before they retire. The choir isn’t meeting at present due to Covid, and the Praise Band is still being recorded ahead of time. Dan and Debbie will be present next week and playing music themselves, then there will be a reception for them after the service.
Our cycle ride this afternoon was from Mathers Mill to Corwin and back - a total of 15.5 miles. We treated ourselves to an ice cream at the Corwin Peddler before our return leg!