Pentecost Flames

cross and flame-pentecost.jpg

"On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability." - Acts 2:1-4

Today is Pentecost...the birthday of the Christian church. On this day, 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and masses, inspiring them, empowering them, and guiding them in ministry.

The same gift of the Holy Spirit, given 2000 years ago, is still given today. When is the last time you asked the Holy Spirit for guidance, strength or direction? The Spirit is there for us, whenever we need inspiration...all that we have to do is ask!

When I think of the Pentecost and the tongues of flame that fell upon the early Church, I think of the Cross and Flame symbol for our denomination, the United Methodist Church.

"Suppose you are vacationing far from home. You drive around, looking for a church in which to worship. Suddenly you see a familiar sight: a Cross and Flame insignia on a sign, pointing you to the nearest United Methodist Church. You've just proved how symbols and pictures provide instant recognition, meaning and a sense of belonging.

Indeed, the Cross and Flame emblem is a powerful reminder of who and Whose we are as United Methodists. That's why protecting and preserving its use and integrity are just as important today as when the insignia was created and registered as No. 917,433 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office more than three decades ago.

The history and significance of the Cross and Flame emblem are as rich and diverse as The United Methodist Church. The insignia's birth quickly followed the union of two denominations in 1968: The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Following more than two dozen 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 when witnesses were unified by the power of the Holy Spirit and saw "tongues, as of fire" (Acts 2:3).

The elements of the emblem also remind us 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." (A Mark Known the World Over, United Methodist Communications, 2018)

When travel in Bermuda a few years ago, it was the Cross and Flame that drew my husband and I to a local Church for worship. It was a building that looked nothing like the church I served. It was a congregation that looked nothing like the congregation I served, and it was a service that looked nothing like the worship style the church I served enjoyed each week. But it was a connectional church and the worship was a blessing to us, all because we spotted the Cross and Flame.

Prayer: 
"Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome" --- Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. Omnipotent Father of Mercy and Grace, Thou art welcome in this place. Lord in Thy presence there's healing divine. No other power can save Lord, but Thine. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place; Thou art welcome in this place. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. Omnipotent Father of Mercy and Grace, Thou art welcome in this place. Fill all the hungry and empty within. Restore us, oh Father revive us again. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place. [Amen] (Authors: D. Rambo & D. Huntsinger; 1977 John T. Benson Publ. Comp./Heart Warming Music Company)
Date: 
May 20 2018