Fifty Days of Easter

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Day 48: Come Holy Spirit and Empower Us

Fifty Days of Easter: Day 48
Come Holy Spirit and Empower Us

One of the challenges of pre-recording our worship services during the week, so Jacquelyn has time to work her magic and edit it all together, is that when something momentous occurs later in the week we can’t easily do rewrites.
 
As we gather for worship tomorrow many minds will be on what is happening in our nation, and who knows what will happen tonight and precede our worship, and perhaps they will not be represented in our worship. However, two things come to mind when I think of tomorrow:
 
The first is that worship is always an opportunity to come into the presence of the living God, and when we do that, we bring our hearts and our concerns, whatever they are, into the presence of God. I have seen that miracle occur over and over, people coming to worship with personal concerns that I was oblivious to and yet they were ministered to beyond any conscious awareness and activity on my part. This is the direct work of the Holy Spirit which we will remember tomorrow in our celebration of Pentecost.
 
So, some of our content may be outdated by a few days, but the Spirit is always now, and when we open our hearts to the Spirit things become relevant in the moment. This is the timeless aspect of worship. I invite you brothers and sisters to present yourself to the timeless God and pray to be filled with the presence and power of God.
 
Secondly, we will be having a “live” time of conversation with Bishop-elect Deon at the zoom forum at 10:30 am, where we will be able to engage in dialogue with him about the things that are current and on our minds.
 
One of the key themes of this Fifty Days of Easter, is my hope that we will not go back to normal. I want peace in our cities and our streets, but my biggest fear is that we will achieve that peace within a few days, we always have, but nothing will have really changed. We will have done nothing more that reorganize the deck chairs on the Titanic, and I fear that in the months and years to come more black people will be killed and there will be more rioting.
 
From the beginning of time, and it was clearly true in Jesus day as it is in ours. The people in power want to preserve the status quo because that preserves their power. They are fundamentally uninterested in systemic change. The people in power will use religion to coerce and maintain their power, rather than liberate people. Scripture is full of stories of people in power killing the prophets, and the religious leaders of his day handed Jesus over to the Romans to be executed because he sided with the oppressed and not the powerful. Following the resurrection Jesus would appear unexpectedly and then disappear. If we want to find Jesus in the midst of what is happening in our nation then we need to be with the oppressed, because that is where he will be. He will definitely not be with the people of power who want to preserve the status quo.
 
I don’t want to go back to normal, I want to go forward and be part of a group of people interested in transforming our world in love. For the disciples following the resurrection of Jesus there was no going back to normal. On the day of Pentecost they were given power, not political power, but the power of love to transform the world. Some 2000 years later that power is still being given and the powers of this world have not overcome it. My prayer for us all this Pentecost is that we can open our hearts to the Spirit of God, to receive power and work together for justice in our nation and the world.
 
Exercise
This Pentecost I invite each one of us not to remember an historical event some two thousand years ago but to open ourselves to a new Pentecost in our personal lives, in our shared life of St. Peter’s, and in our world.

Here is a simple chorus by Daniel Iverson that is worth singing (if you know the tune) or read repeatedly as a meditation to prepare our hearts for our own personal and corporate Pentecost.

Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
 
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on us.
Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on us.
 
With Easter Joy
Rob

Posted by The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle with