I am excited to celebrate Pentecost with you. The Feast of Pentecost is one of my favorite feasts because we celebrate the birth of the Church. We celebrate the day in which Jesus' disciples receive the Holy Spirit and accept the invitation to continue the ministry that Jesus began. Jesus promised his disciples that they would not be alone after he left them. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would fill them with God’s power and God’s wisdom and She would be with the disciples to the end of time. It is this promise that gives us hope to continue Jesus’s ministry today despite or maybe because of the challenges facing our world.
The story we retell year after year reminds us all of how the Church began with a group of people who were from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. They were gathered together for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost where they made offerings and remembered that God had freed them from Egyptian bondage. The first thing that happened to them after receiving the Holy Spirit was the capacity for them to be in conversation with each other despite their differences. This capacity makes it possible for them to become one people, the Body of Christ.
The story reminds of the powerful force of the Holy Spirit. This power of Spirit goes beyond the capacity to speak in different tongues. We know that the Spirit empowered Peter to stand before the doubters and proclaim the Good News. This same Spirit is now with us to guide and give us the courage to stand today and proclaim the Good News in a broken world.
I know that these last few weeks have been challenging for all of us. Mass killings bring to light the many ills of our society: the lack of sensible gun laws; the lack of quality, affordable, and accessible mental healthcare; and the lack of healthy relationships in our communities.
The Feast of Pentecost gives us the opportunity not only to remember the birth of the Church, but to recommit ourselves to Christ’s mission - to love God with all our hearts and with all our souls and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We can see the world as it is with all of its ills, and we can imagine the world as it should be. We as the body of Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit can work towards building God’s kingdom here on earth.
I am grateful to be part of this community to celebrate, to remember, and to encourage one another to continue the work that we are called to do as the Body of Christ.
St. John's Episcopal Church
11201 Parkfield Drive, Austin, TX 78758 (the corner of Parkfield Drive and Braker Lane)
P. O. Box 81493, Austin, TX 78708-1493
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