This Sunday, May 23rd, is Pentecost Sunday! We often think of this day as the birth of the church because of the amazing story we hear on that Sunday. The Holy Spirit came to the disciples, dancing on their heads like flames, and they began to proclaim the news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and most significantly, his resurrection to everyone in ways they could all understand. That must have been a truly amazing sight to see and sound to hear!
As we move into the Pentecost season we are called by God to grow and stretch our faith; grow our roots down deep into the love of God and stretch our branches out wide to reach those around us with this same love of God. As we are beginning to see the horizon on the other side of our Covid time we are called by God to these very same things.
We may feel uneasy about the future, unclear of what we are to do and be. Yet, we can remember that the disciples likely had similar feelings on the morning of Pentecost. They had just lost their Rabbi and friend, Jesus, and had received confusing news and nearly unbelievable experiences of his resurrection. No doubt they, too, felt uncertain of the future or what they were to do and be. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to them and to us, so that we are not alone and that we are empowered to be the church for the sake of the world.
On Friday, May 14th, members of Shepherd of the Hills gathered for a time of renewal and looking to the future. We were asked, “what are your dreams for Shepherd of the Hills?” Our answers ranged from broad ideas to specific activities, from the boundlessly optimistic to the small and deeply important. One theme that seemed to emerge was this: we are called to be a blessing to our community.
Our community is Sylva, Cullowhee, Dillsboro, and all the other towns in this area. Our community is also Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College. Our community is made up of the neighbors we are called by Jesus to love.
Where is God calling us to be a blessing to our community? Let us pray together that God will send the Holy Spirit to us so that we may have eyes open to see where we are needed, ears open to hear the needs of others, minds open that we may find creative ways to respond, and hearts full of the fire of God that we may respond with courage and love!
Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your people and kindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.
(Canticle of the Nordic Lutheran Church in Sweden and Psalm 104:30)