The Frozen Chosen

“Frozen Chosen” is a nickname I have heard given to Presbyterians.

The “chosen” part may come from the fact that Presbyterians are associated with concept of Pre-destination. I could write a whole newsletter on the history and varying thoughts around this teaching about faith and salvation. But let’s just say that I have known zero Presbyterians today who are overly concerned with the idea of Predestination. What our tradition has always held is the belief that God is the source of all things—even our faith. In that sense God chooses us before we choose God. But even our founding Theologian John Calvin would rush to tell us that we cannot know the will and wisdom of God, so how and to whom exactly God offers faith is a mystery. We trust God’s goodness in the process of giving faith, grace and salvation justly and generously.

But I wanted to focus on the “frozen” part of the nickname Frozen Chosen. Let me give it to you straight: Presbyterians have a reputation for being stiff and reserved. We aren’t known for our joy. This is especially true of the perspective on our worship style. In other words, we aren’t thought of as having a lot of “Spirit”.

So, I had to laugh when recently I spoke to someone who grew up in a non-Presbyterian church. She wanted me to know about the first Presbyterian worship service she had just attended. She was in “culture shock” when she entered the sanctuary and saw everyone chatting and greeting each other. In her home church people sat quietly until the service started. A person sitting in front of my friend had recently had a death in the family and she said: “Everyone was coming up to him and giving him hugs and offering to bring him food”. Then during the passing of the peace, she didn’t know what to do when people left their pews to welcome her, AND someone asked her if they could offer her a hug! So much for stiff and reserved!

Scripture tells us that God’s Spirit is active among us today. The life and energy of the Spirit of God is truly at work in our congregation here in Easton. The warmth we feel and show for each other and for new faces, reflects God’s Spirit. Our love of all kinds of music in worship, reflects God’s Spirit. Our active commitment to Mission and Community engagement—this is God’s Spirit stirring through our faith. God’s Spirit moves in many different ways and differently among different people. Some people feel God’s Spirit in quiet reflective moments and other when they raise their hands and shout “Alleluia”. And there is a lot of room for the Spirit to joyful move us in many different ways. The warmth of God’s Spirit is undeniable in our church. I look forward to marking Pentecost with you on June 9th, when new officers will be installed, a new member welcomed and a dove kite will fly over the congregation (guided by Luke) to remind us that the Spirit is with us, now and always.