I 'm so looking forward to this coming Sunday (June 7) where, although we may not be in our church building for worship, we will, at least be together outside of it! If you haven't heard, starting this Sunday, June 7th, we’ll be holding church services outside our building on the lawn and in the parking lot outside our fellowship hall.
This, of course, does not mean the pandemic is over, in fact, many think we're in for another spike in cases sooner than later. Especially after all the chaos and violence of these past days.
This Sunday we'll be celebrating Pentecost! The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church as recorded in the second chapter of the book, The Acts of the Apostles. Pentecost was celebrated this past Sunday by most churches throughout the world, but I thought it very fitting for us to make Pentecost Sunday (the birth of the Church) the Sunday we all gather back together. "Kinda fits". After Pentecost Sunday come the season - called very appropriately - "The Season after Pentecost". It is the longest season of the church year. It begins the day after Pentecost and ends the day before the first Sunday of Advent; four weeks before Christmas.
I feel there are some parallels between the long Season after Pentecost and the season we find ourselves in. Pentecost is a great celebration and a Sunday I always look forward to in the church year. However, the theme through the season covers the ministry, and teachings of Jesus and move to the reign of God. The fulfilment of the movement of God's work to a new heaven and a new earth. In the same way, as we celebrate "Happy Birthday to the Church" on Pentecost, we cannot "stay on the mountaintop" as it were. We are to move into the challenge and intentional work of ministry and mission.
While we are "opening up" our communities, stores, and economies, we are still in the fight with this pandemic. The work is not over. We still need to wear masks when appropriate, keep safe distancing, wash our hands, and take measures to keep overcoming this virus till there's a vaccine. It is great that cases are flat lining in most places and in some the number is coming down - but the fight is not over. With some people rejoining the work force and with jobs coming back there is much to be joyful about - but to many are still unemployed and much needs to be done to help those in need and to help resuscitate our economy. While the weekend protests stayed more peaceful than the days before and more and more acts of reconciliation are happening - we must continue watch for those people and systems that seek chaos and destruction - and work toward peace, community, and understanding.
The work of the church is an intentional and at times challenging business. Yet, it is one of satisfaction of being part of a movement that restores lives, builds hope, renews character, and changes hearts! This Sunday it will be great to see one another and join in the worship and celebration that is Pentecost! Let us commit ourselves to each other and Christ, and our hearts to God as we live as the body of Christ, the movement of God through Jesus, the Christ: The Church!
Be God's, Pastor Jim