The question "what are we (or I) to do" is as old of a question as the existence of humanity. Of course, the circumstances from which someone might be forced to ask this question while looking toward the sky in exasperation vary to a great degree; there are, after all, are many scenarios in which we humans can find ourselves feeling as if we are out of feasible options to move ahead. The question "what do I do" seems to plague us in all kinds of situations - everything from trying to figure out what's for dinner to the place of lament from which many communities are crying at this very moment as we witness an epidemic of gun violence in schools, hospitals and grocery stores and wonder what it is we can do to change this terrifying trend, especially as ordinary citizens.
As we prepare for Pentecost, that is, the birthday of the church in which we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, it is clear that we are not of one accord as a human species about what to do about much of any one thing, much less something complex like gun violence - that is, beyond the legal changes on the table that could restrict access to assault rifles. The miracle of the Pentecost story is one that likely sounds as foreign to you or I as it did to those who witnessed such a scene all those years ago. How is it that people could speak in their own native language and yet understand one another? It seems we often have a hard time understanding one another using the same language, much less if we were to speak different languages altogether.
So, where does this leave us? I want to share a few attributes about the Spirit we can glean from the Acts excerpt which we'll explore more deeply this Sunday.
Perhaps in observing how the Spirit works in this story, we can better understand how we might listen for and discern the Spirit's call as a community and as individuals disciples of Christ, letting down our present notions and instead, opening ourselves up to God's message, as wild and surprising to us as that may be.
The Spirit -
Works through words, but amazingly, it is not hindered by words. The Spirit can work through us, but it also works despite us sometimes, which is wonderful news, especially in those moments when it feels like words simply aren't enough.
The Spirit is wind! It is fire! Its elements are in nature and in the very fabric of creation, since the beginning.
The Spirit will surprise us. So let's be ready to listen to the Spirit again, through nature, through our interactions with one another, through meditation and mindfulness, through praise and worship. Let's allow ourselves to be surprised by the work the Spirit is doing in us, and let us celebrate the gift of God's steadfast companionship through it all.
Among our Joys
We give thanks for the companionship of God through the Holy Spirit. We pray the Spirit's presence will be felt unmistakably this week and in this difficult season, that God may unite that which humans have divided and that justice and equity may prevail for all.
Among our Concerns, please pray for:
Reid Ozaki, friend of Sue Simpson who was diagnosed with COVID
Jan Geinger, friend to many in the congregation
Savannah Batista Hess, granddaughter or Betty Alvarado
Daughter-in-law of Maggie Olsen, Laurie Olson who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We pray also for Maggie’s son, Laurie’s husband, Carl
Daniel Davis, friend of Susan Pearson
Rachel Morford, daughter of Mary Morford
For our homebound friends, Helen Bosley, Elaine Jonson, Harry and Margaret Lobberegt, Jane Nelson and Jim and Kay Thompson.
We lift up Martha Redford on the death of her neighbor this week, Ersie Borrowman.
Among our local and global community concerns:
We lift up all in Ukraine in harm’s way, and refugees around the world seeking safety and dignity. Our faith compels us to welcome the immigrant and the refugee as a sibling of our own; we pray for the hearts and minds of all to open and for will and clarity to work together to mend the many broken systems of government and society to make this place more like the one God intended for all of God’s people.
We pray for the village on 6th and Orchard
We lift up all who are left in the wake of the tragedies brought to a fore by this country’s complex of white superiority and violence. We pray for all whose lives have been forever changed, and for all who dwell in fear.
We pray for our Global Mission partners in Kenya.