Ascension Sunday 2014
Jesus Christ has ascended on high,
He has conquered a host of enemies,
He has given great gifts to his people.
Love God, love your neighbor (see Mark 12:30-31).
There is no way around it. We can’t truly love God if we don’t love our neighbor, and we can’t truly love our neighbor if we don’t love God. There is an inseparable link between the two loves. That’s why Jesus brings them together into one “most important commandment.” Love God and love your neighbor.
With this in mind, here is some pastoral direction concerning two changes taking place in our worship services. Both reflect the connection between loving God and loving neighbor.
Change # 1: starting in June, we will be offering a gluten-free alternative at communion. For most of us, eating unleavened bread during communion is no problem. But for people with gluten allergies, it can be dangerous. As a result, some brothers and sisters have had to avoid eating the bread and, because of the risk of contamination, drinking the cup. In love we must care for these dear ones—especially when it comes to communion, which is a statement of our oneness in Christ. So in June we will begin having gluten-free bread and cups available on a table at the front of the sanctuary, easily accessible from seating section four (the section to the extreme right). Those wanting gluten-free elements should sit in the first three rows of that section. Further details will follow.
Change # 2: starting today, we will be projecting onto the sanctuary screens the words not only to the choir anthems but also to the doxology and the worship songs. The weekly bulletin that the office staff provides is carefully designed to enrich worship. But space limitations often prevent including words to the doxology and anthem(s). Having them on the screens will enrich the worship of those who don’t know the words or want to follow along more closely while the choir sings. Similarly, projecting the words to the worship songs allows us to defer to one other in gospel freedom: specifically, those who prefer to use the bulletin can do so, while those who prefer otherwise are equally free.
In worship, as in everything else at Stone Hill, may we love God and love our neighbors!