This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost. Which is a pretty exciting thing--and gives me hope as I think about the challenges we live with as we seek to be the church in San Diego in 2007.
It's sometimes called the "Birthday of the Church." But, I don't want us to get to thinking we should celebrate it with cake, candles and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. (Wait: that's old fashioned. It's a bounce house these days, right?)
Actually, maybe the candles would be good.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit--GOD--descends on this wild and diverse gathering of people. Maybe "gathering" is overstated; they weren't really hanging out together, on purpose. They just happened to all be together in the city that day. They were from all different places, and spoke all different languages. Mostly, they just happened to be occupying the same physical space.
The Spirit comes to the disciples, and is visible to them, and tangible. Like a burst of strong wind. Like tongues of fire, that rest on each of them.
And the Spirit enables them to speak in languages they do not know. Which means the crowd gathered is enabled to hear--to comprehend and know--the Gospel message. All of them. In their own languages.
The Spirit connects them together in this powerful experience of God. It looks like a mess. So much so that others suggest they must be drunk.
It's understandable to want to try to explain away a powerful spiritual experience. But I give thanks that many of those there didn't let this experience get dismissed and explained.
Instead, it became a powerful beginning of the Church.
By empowering those disciples, that day, God's Spirit demonstrated its presence in and with us--enabling us to do the incredible work of sharing God's Gospel--the good news of life and love with God.
This Sunday, we also get to welcome the class of Confirmands who will join our church. They've been studying and discussion together this year, and are ready to commit themselves to the work of the church.
It's always cool to get to receive new folks into the church community. It's especially cool to receive young people.
Will you join me in praying that their spirits will help bring the Holy Spirit to our church and, even more, to our community and world?