Pastor’s ponderings

Have you ever stopped to consider the meaning of the insignia of The United Methodist Church (the emblem at the top of this page)?  Simply called the “Cross and Flame” it is highly symbolic in nature, and an important reminder for us as we approach Pentecost this coming Sunday.

            As our denomination was being founded in 1968, a commission was put together to develop the design that would guide us into the future.  The principles for its development were: “that it should be simple, bold, instantly recognizable, obviously Christian and uniquely Wesleyan.”  As such, it was said that “The elements of the emblem…recall a transforming moment in the life of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, when he sensed God’s presence and felt his heart “strangely warmed.”  Today, the insignia continues to carry rich meaning for us all, as now, just as during its adoption, “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).”

            Methodists have regularly considered the Holy Spirit’s presence to be a vital part of our identity.  It has been reported that the early gatherings of the people called Methodists were often considered to be too enthusiastic by those who outwardly observed them, because of the obvious presence of the Holy Spirit which caused a high level of activity and excitement (a level it now seems are only seen in holiness and Pentecostal denominations, which, by the way, were birthed from the Methodist movement). 

            It reminds me of the people’s response to that first Pentecost experience.  In Acts 2:13 we find the people’s response to the outpouring of the Spirit, when they stated, “They are filled with new wine.”  The people that saw the birth of the early church thought those first disciples were so joyous and excited that the only explanation could be that they were drunk!  But Peter aptly responded, ultimately concluding before them all, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.”  God provided the Holy Spirit as divine evidence of the truth of Jesus.  God provided the Holy Spirit that the world could rejoice in the Good News.

            I would certainly say that is something to get happy about!  I would certainly say that is worth every ounce of enthusiasm we can muster!  I would certainly say that that is the blessing that is the Church!  Amen?  Then let us all get reacquainted with our Methodist roots and once again be enthusiastic in the Spirit.  Let it be on full display for the world to see.  Let us all be on fire for Christ!

                                                            Pastor Steve

Information and quotations taken from as excerpted from “The Cross and Flame: A Personal Memoir” by Edwin H. Maynard.

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