Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pentecost devotions: Journey of Joy

Today's Bible reading: Genesis 11:27-32

Genesis 11:31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

Last Sunday morning, after the worship service, we held a special ceremony to re-dedicate the church bell. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful event. We took time to remember one of our dearest elders and friends, as well as delighting in the official opening of the new site for our church bell.

The church bell goes back to the founding of our congregation and is the oldest artifact that we possess. For almost seven generations, it has been used to call the faithful to worship on Sunday mornings. It has been heard by Scots-Irish immigrants of the late nineteenth century. It proclaimed the ending of both the First and Second World Wars. It remained with us throughout the turbulent sixties and seventies, and now it has been restored in the 21st century to a beautiful location next to the front entrance. All being well, it will outlive the present congregation and, who knows, it may one day herald the Second Coming of Christ to the Earth.

The story of the first Erin congregation is similar to the biblical account of Abram and Sarai. The Erin people also left the land of their birth and journeyed thousands of miles to settle in a place of promises. With hard work and determination, true grit and a focused faith, they carved out a living and eventually settled here in Knoxville, Tennessee. They called their new church ‘Erin,’ which is the ancient Gaelic word for Ireland. They planted a congregation and sewed seeds of faith which are still bearing fruit today. Just like the patriarchs of old, their work has been rewarded and their faithfulness has been blessed. The journey of joy continues; the mission of Christ goes on.

Questions for personal reflection

How has the faith of past generations influenced and affected me? What am I doing with that faith today in order to ensure that it will be passed on to future generations?

Prayer:            Lord God, you are the Maker of Time and the Shaper of History. You have raised up generations of faithful men and women to serve the continuing ministry and constant mission of Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Christ’s work on Earth. In Your Holy Name, we thankfully pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Pentecost drawings called “Spirit-2012.” Its creation involves paper sculpting, wax crayons, and a scanner. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here:

(It’s also available as a t-shirt at John’s CafePress website at )

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