When the day of Pentecost arrived, they all met in one room. Suddenly they heard what sounded like a violent rushing wind from heaven; the noise filled the entire house in which they were sitting. Something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the heads of each one. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them. Acts 2:1-4
The day of Pentecost is the day our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate receiving the Ten Commandments. God gave these to Moses fifty days after Passover when their ancestors were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is an important date. For the Christian Church, the day of Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit came to the early church, fifty days after Jesus' death and resurrection. It is an important date. It is a day to celebrate. Traditionally we have marked this day with a birthday cake celebrating the birth of the Christian Church. I like to throw in a few balloons and talk about the birthday gifts of the Spirit.
I had hoped that we could be back in our sanctuary by the day of Pentecost, Sunday, May 31. That may or may not happen. If more people are hospitalized and dying, we will continue to worship online. The health of the congregation, especially those who are most at risk, must be our highest priority.
According to the Book of Acts, the church had to wait for fifty days after Jesus' resurrection before the Holy Spirit gave birth to the church. We too are having to wait. It may be much more than fifty days before we can be back in the sanctuary to celebrate the birth of the church. We can learn from the early church and how they waited. It is true that they were able to be together in their homes as they waited. We are not yet able to do that, but what we can do is follow their example of being in prayer as they waited. I encourage us all to continue to strengthen our prayer life during this time. There are many ways to witness to the love Jesus revealed by his life and death as we wait. We can continue to keep in touch with one another through video conferencing, phone calls, text messages, emails, cards and letters. We can study the scriptures. If you have a computer, there are so many resources online. Google any verse or passage and you will find almost endless resources - not all are helpful, but many are. You can even search YouTube. If you do not have a computer, call me and I will be happy to help and share. I appreciate what the governor of New York has suggested. When we wear a mask, we are showing (witnessing) that we care about others. The mask is not about protecting us, it is about protecting those around us. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and enabled the church to speak in other languages, I believe the greatest language of all is the language of love. Everyone wearing a mask is speaking the language of love. I look forward to celebrating the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church with you as soon as possible. Until then, please be well, stay safe and know that you are all in my prayers.
Yours in Christ, Pastor David