On this Feast of Pentecost we remember a promise made and a promise kept: the promise that those who embrace the mission of God that Jesus has proclaimed and lived will not be left alone when he is gone. They will be given the gift of the Spirit of truth, an advocate, a witness, a helper, a companion to stand alongside as they proclaim and live this very same mission.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus invites participation in God’s mission. Jesus models this mission; Jesus is this mission; Jesus challenges the religious leadership to engage this mission; Jesus preaches this mission, teaches this mission, and with the promise of the Holy Spirit Jesus passes responsibility for this mission onto his followers in each and every generation.
Many think of Pentecost as the birthday of the church, and that’s okay as long as we don’t understand “church” in that context to mean institution, but rather as the ekklesia, the assembly of those “called out” to witness to a particular way of being in the world; a way that by its very definition is not static, but dynamic; not a club or a clan, but a transformational community sharing in God’s reconciling mission for the world, even as we ourselves are guided into new “truths.”
The Baptismal Covenant offers a dynamic, comprehensive framework for the living out of that life’s mission: Continuing in the Apostles teaching and fellowship, breaking the bread and saying the prayers; persevering in resisting evil, repenting, coming back to God again and again; proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ in all that we say and do; seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving others as ourselves; striving for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being (indeed all creation).This is the heart of Christ’s reconciling mission and ministry in which we share. This mission is always before us and we are especially reminded of that reality today.
So, where is the Holy Spirit stiring in your life, in your congregation? Where are you opeing yourself up to “hear” in a new way the “rush” of the Holy Spirit moving in your life and in the life of your congregation?
Here in the Episcopal Church in Vermont, this year is a season of the Spirit, as we gather around our Convention theme – “Stirings of the Spirit.” We are seeking those new and ancient ways in which God is calling us to renew our faith and our commitment to God’s reconcilling mission in the world. I hope you are “tuning in” to that “Stirring of the Spirit” in our midst. I invite you to visit the Stirings of the Spirit web page that is part of our Alleluia Fund initiative and connect to some of what we are exploring and anticipating.
Come Holy Spirit, Come!