Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gifts and Preparation for Pentecost

I am feeling quite a bit of anticipation for this coming Sunday.

Not because of the visit of our Assistant Bishop Charles Keyser.

Not because we have 25 confirmations, baptisms, reaffirmations, receptions scheduled (and that's just for the 11:15 service!)

And not just because it is Pentecost, and we'll be "painting the Church red" as it were.

All those things together are great... on an intellectual level. But I find my heart is stirring because, in this celebration of that wacky moment in the upper room when the Holy Spirit lit a fire in the mouths (and under the butts) of everybody to get out there and tell everyone, "Yo! It's Good News time!"... I have a sense of the here and now.

What if this is really still happening? What if, in the re-telling of our ancestral story, we are rekindling that flaming moment in our own 21st century lives? Could it not be true that such wild and crazy stuff continues... if we just sit still and allow ourselves to be moved by it?

Perhaps, this is the purpose of having the Ephesians readings as part of the Daily Office. I was reflecting on this passage from yesterday:

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’
When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. --Ephesians 4: 7-16

What I heard in this passage is a call to examine ourselves and to see what it is that we contribute to the promotion of this growing body. Because we are all contributors, especially if we live as people of love and freedom. And, with Sunday coming, those gifts that we have will become the ones that get set ablaze to be the light that we carry out into a sometimes dark, murky, messed-up world. Get ready to give the gift!

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