The world around us can seem so chaotic. Though it might have seemed an opportunity to simplify our lives, this time of “Safer at Home” has presented for many of us a constant struggle to sort out how to meet the many demands on our lives. The pain of our neighbors and family members who live nearby and those who live farther off add to our bewilderment.
As we enter the summer season, we know that we will be continuing to face a time of uncertainty. We want things to go back to the way they were, yet, we worry for the safety of our neighbors in the pews. As we begin to reset our practices and take up new ones like mask-wearing and social distancing in church, we should also remember that some of our neighbors will find themselves in survival mode, wondering where they are going to get enough food to feed their family, trying to figure out where they are going to live once they have been evicted because of foreclosure or inability to continue paying rent, navigating a tough job market, grieving.
In the midst of this perplexing time, we need to remember cleansing flames and rushing wind of the Spirit at Pentecost. When the Spirit came, she brought with her a new vision for the disciples and through the ages, new hope for us. Though the Pentecost story is a little scary with its description of tongues of fire, weird utterances in different languages, spur of the moment preaching, and wild commitments, the gift of the Holy Spirit was a life transforming event. The power of this story is seen in the results. As the energy of the Spirit grew and the disciples began to move out and share, so thousands of people were able to connect to the good news of God’s salvation. Even foreign travelers got caught up in the joy as they heard the good news for the first time and their lives were transformed, too.
But the real miracle of the Holy Spirit is not that foreign languages were spoken and understood. It’s not that strange winds blew and fires burned. The true miracle happened when people heard the disciples’ message of hope and saw their commitment to serve the community. Scripture tells us that thousands of lives were transformed by the hope and encouragement they received and this inspired them to join the work of sharing hope with others.
This summer, even though we feel stymied as we face many unknowns, we need to celebrate that nothing can stop us from sharing the good news that Jesus proclaimed. He handed his ministry to his disciples and through them, to us. Whether we’re worshiping in our building or continuing with online practices, there is much work to do and people are waiting to see the good news in their midst. Let’s get creative! How can we reorder our lives, reorganize our ministry, restructure our mission to take up Jesus’ own calling:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
I want to hear your ideas! There’s so much we can do. Let’s go!!