Tuesday, May 19

A Prayer for Pentecost

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we celebrate one of the three great festivals of the church year, the Day of Pentecost.  Coming 50 days after Easter and ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, it is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to Christ's followers, the birth of Christ's Church in the world, and our mission together. Historically, Pentecost has been a huge celebration in Europe, where church celebrations take on the tone of Easter here in the States.  Because Pentecost tends to fall over graduation weekends or Memorial Day (as is the case this year), our celebrations tend to be more intimate and subdued.  However, in no way does this diminish the importance of this day in the life of Christ's Church. For that may have been the first Pentecost but there have been many more since that time as God's Spirit continues to work in, with, and through us for the sake of the world.

If you are traveling this weekend, we pray that your travels will be safe and that your time away will be a source of renewal.  If you are going to be in worship, here or elsewhere, this Sunday, wear something red as we celebrate the coming of the Spirit.  May God continue to  bless us. empower us, and guide us for the joys and challenges of the journey ahead.

Holy Spirit, come upon us.  Breathe new life into us.  Help us to share this new life in what we do and say.  You are our Creator.  Help us to be creative.  You inspire us.  Help us to inspire others.  Help us to build up rather than to break down.  Help us to be renewed and refreshed when we are torn down and tired.  Call us by your Spirit into the way of New Life, through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Monday, May 18

Give the Gift of Life (This Friday)

Dear Friends,
Just a reminder that American Red Cross will be having a blood drive st St. Andrew's this Friday May 22 from 2 - 7 PM downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall.  While we will accept walk ins, you can also  try to make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by signing up online at redcrossblood.org.

 The blood supply tends to be particularly challenging during the summer months.  As you are able, please take some time out of your schedule on Friday to give this precious gift.

Monday, May 11

A Prayer for Ascension

Dear Friends,

For those of you who were able to join us this past Sunday, I want to thank you for the ways that you strengthened each other with the sharing of your blessings.  I know that some of what was shared in the pews was far more powerful than anything I could say from the front of the church.  Thank you for your witness and faithfulness.

This weekend we will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord.  Over the last two weeks, our Gospel reading has shown us Jesus reflecting on his love for his followers, knowing that he has come from the Father and will return to the Father while they will be his body in the world.  If you want to read Jesus' prayer from the heart for his followers, you can read chapter 17 of the Gospel of John.  In the meantime, I would like to share with you a prayer written by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia President David Lose, which is a prayer for us as we continue to celebrate and struggle with what it means to be the body of Christ here and now, with all of the joys and all of the challenges that the seasons of a life of faith can bring:

Dear God, whose love knows no ending, we know this life is beautiful and difficult and sometimes both at the same time.  We do not ask that you take us out of this world, but that you support and protect us while we are in it.  We pray that you would set us apart in your truth, that your love is for everyone, and we ask that you would send us out to bear witness in word and deed to your grace, goodness, and love. May we hear your voice calling us at home and at work, at school, our social settings, and the places we gather and volunteer, that we might feel and share your love.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, the one set apart and made holy for us.  Amen. 

Monday, April 27

Prayer for Nepal

Hear our cry for mercy in the wake of this devastating earthquake. Reveal your presence in the midst of suffering. In the face of desperation and grief, help us to trust in your promises of hope and life.  Shine a light in the darkness, be a beacon of peace, bring strength in times of trial, and assure us with the hope we know in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen 

Monday, April 20

Hershey Handbells This Friday

This Friday, April 24 at 7:30 PM, we have the privilege of welcoming the Hershey Handbell Ensemble, a group of skilled bell choir players from throughout south central Pennsylvania. This fifteen member group, under the direction of Dr. Shawn Gingrich, performs on seven octaves of handbells, handchimes, and other assorted instruments. In addition to the performance, there 
will be explanations and demonstrations of the various bells and instruments used, the compositions played, and the coordination of the group itself. There will also be time for your questions as well. Hershey Handbell Ensemble is committed to advancing the art of handbell ringing through education and performance while uniting people of various ages and backgrounds through the musical arts. The Ensemble will also have a selection of popular CD recordings available for purchase at the concert. Invite family and friends, as well as musicians from other churches for this very special evening.