The Rev. Peter A. Lane
Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection.
Made for joy, we settle for pleasure.
Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance.
Made for relationship, we insist on our own way.
Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment.
But a new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise.
Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all
that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present
world…that, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow
Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has
thrown open before us.
This weekend is the Feast of Pentecost, the third of our great Feasts in the Christian year. Pentecost marks the baptism by the Holy Spirit of Jesus’ disciples, transforming them into evangelists and builders of God’s kingdom through the spread of the Gospel and the healing and reconciliation of all that is broken by human sin. As inheritors of their work, we too have been equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, that he is renewing every day through the work of the Body of Christ, you and me. Do you feel empowered? Do you feel confident in your ability to continue the work of the first disciples in today’s hurting and broken world?
N.T. Wright, a former Bishop of Durham in England, and well-regarded New Testament scholar, offers us a wonderful reminder of the way we’ve been called to live in this world – not selling ourselves short or settling for mediocre but claiming our inheritance as children of God and members of the Body of Christ. It is in the daily decision to claim the power God pours out on us, to live as God has called us to live that we discover just how capable we are, just how fully God has equipped us to be builders of God’s kingdom in the here and now.
This is what we are building here at St. Alfred’s, step by step, day by day, each time we come together with offerings for FEAST, the food pantry we support; or when we bring in underwear for kids to support the holy and good work of Clothes to Kids; or when we bag rice for Daystar Life Center; or provide food cards to folks living with food insecurity daily; or provide space and support to AA; or offer GriefShare to those grieving the death of a loved one; or call to check on the well-being of a member of the parish who can’t make it to church; or provide a ride to church for a member who no longer drives; or surround someone who is struggling with our love and prayers and support. It is in the doing of these holy tasks that we are renewed and strengthened. It is in strengthening our relationships that we find the courage to do the work we’ve been called to do.
I think of those first disciples and how often they must have confronted feelings of being overwhelmed, but it was in the doing that they discovered that indeed God had equipped them to tackle whatever challenges they faced. It is no different for you and me. Together we are stronger, wiser, and more able to discover what good work God is calling us to now. Together we are called to follow Jesus into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us. It remains my joy to walk with you into God’s new world, unfolding each and every day.
See you in Church and out in the world!