Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Dear Linwood Friends and Friends of Linwood,
There are three things I want to share with you – all have to do with prayer (doesn’t everything?) and two have to do with water. Let’s start with the prayer and water, move to prayer without water, and then bring back the water for a rousing conclusion!
1) On Sunday, August 19th we will have our second annual “Lake Erie Baptisms.” This is an opportunity for those who wish to be baptized by immersion – either as a first time sacrament or as a renewal of their baptism vows. We will meet at 6:00 p.m. at the stairs at the West end of the playground area. Feel free to wear whatever you wish – as long as you don’t mind getting it wet! Last year it was my privilege to baptize some for the first time, as well as others who wished to renew their vows. If you have questions or would like to know more, please let me know, or talk with one of the members of the Council.
For years, as a Presbyterian, I was resistant to the idea of giving people an opportunity to be baptized again, if they had been baptized as a child or youth. Baptism is the “once and for all” sacrament signifying that Christ died once and for all for us. Then I visited the Holy Lands with my dear friend, Earl Preston, a Baptist pastor. We found ourselves at the River Jordan, and Earl gave people the opportunity to be baptized. I found that opportunity to be irresistible. It was not a denial of my baptism as a child, but it was a renewal of the vows that my parents had taken for me. Perhaps the best analogy I think of is when a married couple renews their wedding vows. The renewal in no way sets aside what happened before, but instead underlines it.
If the Lord is calling you to be a part of this special time, please join with us. Also, if you would simply like to come and support those who are being baptized, that is also wonderful!
2) Also on Sunday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel, we will have our third vespers service, a “Concert of Prayer.” That title may not be familiar to you. What is a “Concert of Prayer”? Well, it is an hour that we will spend together praying! I know – you hate to admit it – but that sounds rather boring, doesn’t it? Trust me – you will be shocked how fast an hour can go by – especially when you are praying!
We will be praying about all kinds of things – in all kinds of ways. We will pray by singing. Some hymns are about God (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”). These are testimonies, not prayers. Other hymns are offered to God (“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”). These are prayers. So, we will sing some prayers. We will pray all together. We will offer “one word prayers.” We will pray in small groups (only those who are comfortable praying out loud will be asked to). We will pray individually. We will pray about ourselves and our needs. We will pray using prayer cards that were turned in the Sunday before. We will be given opportunities to pray for one another.
I realize that it is hard to explain what this kind of time can mean by describing it in an e-mail. Again, I ask you to trust me. You will be comfortable there (whatever your experience with prayer). And, you will be blessed there.
3) Back to the water. Last Sunday the LCCL (Linwood Council of Christian Life) voted that we take the first step into a mission called “Living Water for the World.” Our season- long theme has been “Come to the Waters” – celebrating God’s incredible gift of the fresh water of the Great Lakes and His even more incredible gift of the living water of Jesus.
While we can easily take for granted the supply of fresh water that is at our doorstep, there are many communities – especially in the third world – who do not have fresh water – or if they do have a water supply, it is terribly polluted. There are many wonderful water projects at work today. “Living Water for the World” is one of these. They are a Christian-based organization that identifies villages with a need for clean water, develops relationships with them and shares in education, and then installs a water purification system that can provide clean water for a village of 1000 people. The entire process takes about three years, but the system can last for decades.
The LCCL voted to designate a portion of the earnings from its investment account and to solicit additional donations from the Linwood community. To begin with we will be partnering with Bay Presbyterian with relationships in Guatemala. This is just the beginning of the information you will be receiving about this exciting mission.
I am committed to guarding against this e-mail being a bulletin board for upcoming events. However, these three things are much more than announcements. Each one is evidence of the life, the depth, and the vitality of the Christian community in Linwood. I am grateful to be a part of it.
Yours in Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor
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