Shenandoah District Connection
Wind of the Spirit,
What Does This Mean?
May 18, 2020
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself..." (Matt. 6:34).
From the Desk of District Executive Minister John Jantzi

This meditation is another in the series of reflections leading up to Pentecost Sunday. The theme is taken from Acts 2:12, where the question was asked, “what does this mean,” by those who observed the coming of the Holy Spirit. The coming reflections will include a variety of folk throughout the District.

Brethren Woods made an announcement last Friday about the camping programs this summer. Click here to view the statement.

Please note the additional links and resources below developed for the reopening of churches in a time of pandemic. If you have any questions about these items, please contact Shenandoah District Executive Minister John Jantzi .
1) Va. Safer at Home Phase 1 for  Religious Services
2) W. Va.  Schedule  and  Guidance
3) Northern Plains District Executive Tim-Button-Harrison provided this Guide to Faithful Discernment , which was produced by Presbyterians in Iowa.
4) State guidelines from Governor Northam’s press conference on Fri., May 8:
5) Ideas and links generated from two Zoom calls last week among District leaders and pastors: Resources for Congregational Reopening
Call to Worship
L. How wondrous! A new heaven and a new earth!
P: The old, bruised and angered, fearful and alienated, will pass away.
L: In its place God will offer new hope and peace.
P: God will dwell with God’s people forevermore.
L: Worship the Lord who is about to do a new thing.
P: Praise God who establishes God’s reign in the heart of God’s people. AMEN
What Does This Mean?

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “what does this mean?” Over these last months (which have been amazing and perplexing in themselves), we hear the question being asked over and over, “what does ‘this’ mean?”
I’ve asked myself that same question a time or two. Every time I sit at my desk and read a scripture that has the potential to become a sermon, I ask that question. What does this mean…to me; to you; to my community of faith; to our nation? What does it mean? That age-old question put forth to Jesus, “what is truth?” What does ‘this’ mean?

As we sit in our homes, we’ve read and heard all there is to hear and read about the ‘ronavirus. I have read and learned what drug works this week but doesn’t next; when to wear a mask and when not to wear a mask--which were the same--and far too often the confusing advice and news were from the same people. I personally know those who have been tested as asymptomatic, symptomatic, ill, recovered, and, sadly, lost the battle. And the final exasperating view, I--and we--ask, “what does this mean?” 

But in the midst, with thanksgiving, these thoughts and questions have been balanced, and sometimes answered, by spending time outside. We’ve had the privilege of spending extra time in our gardens this year. I’ve planted quite a few new medicinal herbs; we have a little raised vegetable garden, and we’ve planted flowers. I hope you, too, have had the opportunity to join me in listening to the birds sing, the bees buzz, and the rabbits munch in the grass.  

Our God walked with our primordial parents, Adam and Eve, in the cool of the evening. Have you ever really given that much thought? I have. It is one of the most beautiful ideas that Scripture shares. They had the distinct privilege to walk with God in the cool of the evening. I can imagine those two perfect humans walking hand in hand through a lush garden brimming with flowers, vegetables, and herbs; the smell was luscious as their hands brushed by and touched each plant. I can imagine the knowledge of Emmanuel in the garden with them--His presence as close as the gardenia blooming on the vine.
Isn’t that what we have today? Certainly, there are areas of the garden far removed from Eden, but not the presence. As we approach Pentecost, isn’t it amazing to imagine the God of Adam and Eve walking with us in the cool of the evening, in the person of the Holy Spirit? With every breeze blows the love and meaning of life. The sense of loving and being loved. God with us. So, as you walk in the evening, or the morning, or in the noonday light, and feel the gentle breeze or the beam of sunlight, the answer to the question, “what does this mean,” is right here--God with us, nothing else matters at all. 
Wherever you are, Christ is with you. You are beloved of God and God’s care will always surround you. Be at peace and rejoice! AMEN.
In Our Prayers
We continue to pray for Tim Sites during his continued hospitalization. Tim is interim pastor at Leake’s Chapel.
Prayers also continue for Jack Haddock, pastor of Trinity, as he recovers at home from a recent hospitalization.
Prayers are requested for Dot Mellott as she is hospitalized at Martha Jefferson. Dot is interim pastor at Waynesboro Church of the Brethren.
Today's Meditation submitted by:
Janet Elsea
Pastor, Barren Ridge
Member of Standing Committee
Ex-Officio on the District Leadership Team

Call to Worship and Benediction submitted by:
John Jantzi
Shenandoah District Executive Minister

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Director of Communications
Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
Weyers Cave, Va. 24486
(540) 234-8555
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