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Monday, June 2, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “The Flame”

E-Vangel Newsletter
June 2, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “The Flame”

I learned something a few weeks ago from “Chuck”, (aka Josh Childs of Nashville). His video series, “Chuck Knows Church” is most informative and easy to understand. Both non-church folks and those who have been participating in liturgical worship all their lives (but never stopped to ask “Why do we do that?” or “What is that?”) find his short, often humorous explanations about everything from the Christian calendar to the symbolism of the Methodist logo, enlightening. I sure do.

It was his segment on the Methodist logo that blessed me. I have been saving it for this week, because this Sunday is Pentecost. And if you watch Chuck, you will learn (if you don’t already know) that Pentecost is the end of Easter: fifty days after the Resurrection when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as “tongues of fire”. (And you thought Easter ended at sundown on Easter Sunday, didn’t you? Now be honest!) Rejoice, O Christians, we still have a week of EASTER!

For Israel, Pentecost was the Feast of Weeks, now known as Shavuot, celebrating God giving Moses the Law on Mount Sinai.

Well back to the enlightenment.

In this day and age, every denomination has a logo, an easily recognizable symbol that conveys the essence of that particular branch of Christendom. For United Methodists, it is “The Cross and Flame”. You see it on street signs pointing the way to the nearest Methodist church and on just about every Methodist church building and church lawn sign.

The Cross and Flame represents two of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. The cross, of course, represents Jesus Christ. It is an empty cross, for HE IS RISEN. The flame represents the Holy Spirit, who, on Pentecost Sunday, descended upon the church, empowering them to share the gospel with all nations, races and languages.

Now stay with me on this.

It was in 1968 at the merger of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church (to form The “United” Methodist Church) that the bishops decided we should have a logo signifying our unity.

After reviewing a dozen or so finalists, the current logo was approved.

But here is something you probably didn’t know. Why are their TWO tongues of flames? One is for The Methodist Church, and the other is for the former Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Now you know why I find that interesting. Christ Ministry Center has roots that go back to 1912 and was for many years known as First EUB Church of San Diego. It was the largest EUB Church west of the Rockies, and home to the EUB Annual Conference in 1953.

Whenever there is a church merger, usually the smaller church is absorbed into the larger. It doesn’t take long before the legacy of the former church is forgotten. I am proud of both our EUB and Methodist history, and claim our heritage with honor.

I’m always delighted when I see the Methodist logo. We are the most geographically diverse denomination in the USA. While Baptists are strong in the South, Catholics in the Northeast and Southwest, Lutherans in the Midwest – and so on – Methodists are EVERYWHERE! And so is that logo.

But knowing half of the Flame represents the Evangelical United Brethren makes me doubly proud.

Happy Pentecost!

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:
“The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

Home of
Exodus Parish

News from Around Christ Ministry Center:

Lifeline Stroke Prevention Screening
Thursday, September 4, 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Tentative date for Lifeline Screening to set up at Christ Ministry Center for screening to prevent stroke with early detection. More on this as we get closer to September 4. (This “Every Good Friday” event will be on Thursday because they will need the whole first floor of our facilities for this health screening opportunity.)

For more information on these events, call our office 8:00-11:00 or 12:-3:30, Monday through Friday. Thanks in advance for helping get the word out!

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