“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2, NRSV)
The 2nd Chapter of Acts is full of images that appeal to our senses. In the passage above, Luke, the author of the book of Acts, appears to refer to a violent wind filling the Upper Room where the disciples awaited the Spirit's appearing. Upon closer reading, rather than wind, it was "a sound like the rush of a violent wind" that filled the house. Whatever it was, it sounded like a violent wind.
In subsequent verses, "divided tongues, as of fire" appeared, and a single tongue rested on each of the disciples' heads. Was it fire, or was it something else? Luke says the Holy Spirit then fills the disciples. This experience enables them to speak in the native languages of those Jews from foreign lands gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. The Feast of Weeks commemorated both the wheat harvest and the Children of Israel receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Something strange and wonderful thrusts the disciples from the security of the Upper Room into the streets of the city. Out of the chaos emerges a new work of God, stretching the sensibilities of the faithful while, at the same time, birthing the Church that will bear the Body of Christ to the world.
God often does his best work in the overwhelming chaos of social change. I believe God is up to something amid the disruptions and changes we are facing today. It's up to us to discover where and how God is working in the turmoil of our times and then join in with whatever God is doing. As I said a few weeks ago, I believe this is the most exciting time to be in ministry. God is up to something, and we get to be a part of it.
As I said this past Sunday, beginning June 6th, we're adopting a new Sunday morning schedule that allows us to focus on worship for young families and rebuilding fellowship among all our members. We will have 45-minute worship services at 8:15 am, and 11:00 am. Family Worship will move to 9:00 am and remain a 30-minute service. Chapel Communion will be held at 9:30 am. Sunday school will run from 9:45 am to 10:45 am. From 9:00 am to 11:00 am, the Atrium will serve as Koinonia Café with coffee and pastries. Koinonia is the Greek word for fellowship or community. We want people to spend time between services and Sunday school reconnecting and meeting new people.
As we rebuild our church community through fellowship, we'll also explore ways to re-engage with our community through missions and evangelism. Some of the new things we're trying will work while others may not. We'll celebrate the wins and re-think the failures. Our goal is to be faithful to the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who compels us to love one another as he loves us. If we can do this, we'll see some miraculous results. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we move into the next few months of ministry together. I hope we can count on you to join us in this journey.