Pastor's Column


"...with the Holy Spirit at the helm (and us letting her steer), the Church will be anywhere and everywhere that celebrates diversity, lets everyone use their unique gifts and skills to create a more loving community, and accepts everyone as they are as a beloved child of God’s kin-dom."

 

~ Pastor Cydney

 
 

Pastor’s Column . . .

 

Dear Church,

 

Whether you've heard this from me before or someone else, I believe we are in an era of Christianity that is being charged by the holy spirit - unpredictable to us as she might be.  Richard Rohr, in one of his recent daily devotionals says this about the holy spirit "This spirit is itself the foundational energy of the universe, the ground of all being, described in the first lines of the bible (Genesis 1:2)" - (Rohr, Church as Living Organism)

 

This is not the first era of the Holy Spirit kind within our faith. Look no further than the story of Pentecost, as told in the book of Acts, in which the Spirit descended upon not just the disciples, but all people, gifting them with the skills to spread the good news of Jesus with everyone, anywhere, and at any time.

 

Pentecost is often called the birthday of the church, because it is when Peter and the other disciples took it upon themselves to share the message of God’s eternal love with the rest of the world. These earliest efforts of evangelizing were itinerant: a couple of disciples traveling together to towns and communities in order to fill people in on the life and purpose of Jesus Christ - literally meeting people where they were at. Pentecost represents that the "post-Resurrection gifts of God are no longer only for the encouragement and strength of the Jesus-followers huddled together in an up-per-room or wayward synagogue, they are now a means of bringing outsiders within those walls. The gospel and its gifts are being taken to the streets" (Christian, Pentecost: Too Early in the Morning to be Drunk).

 

Richard Rohr’s devotional continues on to say that when the Apostle Paul is on the early Christian scene many years after those first disciples, the Christian church was still "not yet an institution or a centrally organized set of common practices and beliefs. It was a living organism that communicated the Gospel primarily through relationships. This fits with Paul’s understanding of Christ as what we might call an energy field, a set of relationships inside of which we can live with integrity" (Rohr, Church as Living Organism). The Holy Spirit was still working through those early practitioners of our faith in order to create deeper relationship between each other and with God, just like what we see happen on Pentecost.

 

Many people believe that the nature of the Holy Spirit that bridges divides, endows gifts to everyone, and sets the mission of the church as meeting people where they are and as they are, is the nature of the Christian Church in the 21st century and beyond. Rather than the Church predominantly being a particular place or building where people congregate as it has become synonymous with over the centuries, with the Holy Spirit at the helm (and us letting her steer), the Church will be anywhere and everywhere that celebrates diversity, lets everyone use their unique gifts and skills to create a more loving community, and accepts everyone as they are as a beloved child of God’s kin-dom.

 

It’s true that by the time you are reading this, the day of Pentecost will have already passed, but by looking at this story from our faith, it becomes evident that Pentecost is not meant to be treated like a one day event that has come and gone. Pentecost is in fact a season in the life of the church, just like Lent, Eastertide, or Ad-vent. But more so than that, I think it’s fair to say that Pentecost should be treated most like a lifestyle, especially for our lives today. What would the Church look like if we trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us into whatever the future might hold? What would New Goshenhoppen feel like if we lived in the Spirit of Pentecost in all that we did as a community who follows in the ways of Jesus? What might your life gain from the Holy Spirit informing your decisions, no matter how big or small? Through the Holy Spirit, may we, like the earliest pioneers of our faith, be the concrete embodiment of the gospel together! May we each strive to use our gifts to bring people to God, even (and maybe especially) if the Holy Spirit is inviting us to do that outside of our comfortable and established Christian circles.

 

In Faith,

Pastor Cydney  

 

 

 

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