Bellport United Methodist Church
Saturday, June 24, 2017
He who abides in love, abides in God.

The Back Pages


The Back Pages

 "Summer Flowers"  
Behold the flowers of June! 
How fair and bright their buds appear, 
as, opening to the summer air, 
our eyes and hearts they cheer! 

Who would have thought there could abound 
such beauty and delight 
beneath the cold and wintry ground 
that hid those flowers from sight? 

That power which made and governs all — 
the mighty power of God — 
alone could life and beauty call 
out of the lifeless sod. 

And he, who from the winter’s gloom 
can summer thus disclose, 
shall one day make the desert bloom, 
and blossom as the rose.           ~Anonymous

     Ruth -- A Pentecost Story   


   The disciples were celebrating Pentecost, originally a Jewish festival, when the Holy Spirit descended on them and birthed the church. Pentecost, which began as a harvest festival, had come to commemorate the giving of the law. The book of Ruth became integral to festival worship. 

Why Ruth? This short story doesn’t mention the law, let alone God giving it to Moses. Yet in Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law (“Where you go I will go …. Your people will be my people … ” [Ruth 1:16, NIV]), she fulfills not just the letter but the spirit of the law: lovingkindness — all the more remarkable because she’s a foreigner. Boaz, too, demonstrates exorbitant kindness to Ruth. 

As Christians celebrate the Spirit bridging differences in Jerusalem, uniting all nationalities by making the gospel message intelligible to all people, we too can remember Ruth’s story. For in it, God unites two enemy peoples for his grand purpose: Boaz and Ruth’s marriage leads to King David and, ultimately, to King Jesus. Today, the Holy Spirit continues to unite all categories of people under Christ’s reign for the good of the world. 

   The Origin of Father's Day    
One Sunday in 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd listened to a sermon honoring mothers. Her mother had died some years before, so her father had raised her by himself. Dodd wondered why there wasn’t a day to honor fathers, so she arranged a tribute to her father at a church in Spokane, Washington. The date was June 19, 1910. Many people believe this was the beginning of Father’s Day. 

Another account holds that a West Virginia church held a tribute service for fathers in 1908, following a mine explosion that killed 360 men. Regardless of which story is correct, President Calvin Coolidge was the first president to designate a special day to honor fathers. In 1924, he proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

 Whatever the Weather  
No matter the forecast, weather can remind us of God’s presence: 

• When it’s sunny, remember that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). 
• When it’s cloudy, remember that God often spoke to and guided his people from a cloud (Exodus 13:21-22.) 
• During a thunderstorm, remember the thunder and lightning when God beckoned Moses to Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16). 
• When it rains or snows, remember that God’s Word serves his purpose just as precipitation does (Isaiah 55:10-11). 
• When it’s windy, remember that “a wind from God” came at Creation (Genesis 1:2), and God’s Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost like a mighty wind (Acts 2:2). 

    The Power of Pentecost   
   Pentecost started as a Jewish festival commemorating God’s giving the Law to the Israelites 50 days after they escaped from slavery in Egypt. 

Just days after the risen Jesus ascended to heaven, his (Jewish) disciples gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. But God transformed the occasion by giving them the Holy Spirit, as he’d promised. The disciples saw something like flames among and on them, heard a rushing wind and began speaking in many languages. The pilgrims in Jerusalem heard about Jesus in their native tongues (see Acts 2:1-12). 

In Christian churches, Pentecost was once as important as Christmas and Easter. Today, congregations still observe it in special ways, using the color red to symbolize the Holy Spirit’s power. Worship services sometimes include hymns, prayers and Scriptures in various tongues. To simulate the original Pentecost experience, congregations may say the Lord’s Prayer in several languages at once. 


this summer!

  The Wooden Shoe of Worry  
The word sabotage has a fascinating history. Sabot is the French word for a wooden shoe. Sabotage was the act of throwing a shoe into machinery to stop work. Now it means any attempt to hinder production or spoil a product. 

Satan tries to cast a wooden shoe into our souls to prevent us from accomplishing God’s plan. That shoe is worry, which can crush the spirit, sour our disposition and interfere with Christian service. That’s why Jesus instructs: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34, NIV). Jesus isn’t promoting laziness or indifference; instead, he encourages us to trust our Father, who provides for all our needs. 

Be on guard, and don’t let worry sabotage your faith! 

 For fathers and other good and faithful men in our lives,
we give you thanks, O Father-God.