Something is Happening

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Every Pentecost Sunday the most compelling of the three readings for me is Acts 2:1-11 These slow-to-get-it, doubtful and frightened Apostles received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire and became Courageous. Something Happened.

The Apostles had one native language when they left the upper room to speak to the crowds, who were from many nations with different languages, but everyone who heard the Apostles understood each word that was proclaimed.
Something Happened.

Lately in America, doesn’t it feel like we’re speaking a foreign language to more and more of our neighbors?   Doesn’t it feel like in the era of more diverse ways to communicate,  our communication with each other is breaking down and failing?

Changing definitions for generations-old established words and totally invented new words are leading to divisions. People talk while simultaneously scrolling social media,  which means that attention is divided and this leads to misunderstandings.  Our families, neighborhoods, communities, country lost the ability to talk civilly with those we don’t agree with. We all can name people in our lives who no longer speak to each other, and we are increasingly divided. Something Happened

We could spend hours dissecting and theorizing the “why’s.” We could point to politics, social issues, media, and technology. Pointing fingers and straining to pinpoint the exact event or time that it fell apart and place blame is a waste.

This is not that complicated. America is no longer a Christendom. And we Christians often stay silent rather than proclaim Christ’s message of repentance, redemption, forgiveness, and love.

The antidote to Anger and Hate is Forgiveness and Love. Jesus proved this as He died for our sins on the cross. We who are followers of Christ must speak as we are able and trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the words that allow others to hear. We who are followers of Christ , when faced with a debate about some divisive topic, must talk about Christ and proclaim His message. It begins with talking with those closest to us.  We must find courage to Cross the Great Divide. (“Cross” reference intended).

What happened in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost was a miracle; born of the Holy Spirit to bring the Resurrection and Truth of Jesus Christ to the world.

Come Holy Spirit. Give us all the Courage to Make Something Happen.


Witness for or against God

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I have an intense internal drive for justice. I have always been someone who strives to see justice done in all things and for all people. And when I witness or hear about acts of injustice, I am filled what a deep sense of outrage.

This visceral drive for justice is what helps me witness to the Jesus who flips tables in the temple court and chastises the religious authorities for their hypocrisy. It makes me a strong witness for our God who is a God of justice. But when left unchecked or not filtered through God’s lens of mercy and charity, this drive for justice can also make me a counter-witness. In my flippancy or antagonistic turn-of-phrase, I can end up turning people away from Christ, rather than toward Him.

The first reading for today speaks to this very idea of being a witness for or a witness against God. In who we are and how we behave as Christians, we have the power to draw people closer to God, to foster a desire in them to know Christ, or we can turn them off entirely. We can be shepherds who scatter the sheep, or we can be united to Christ our Shepherd who draws all sheep safely to himself.

As we continue growing in intentional discipleship as a parish, it is as important to talk about the ways we serve as counter-witnesses as it is to discuss the ways we positively witness to Christ. For so many people, the reason they have strayed from the Church or refuse to consider joining is less about Her teachings and more about Her members. So this week, I challenge all of us to spend some time pondering these questions: How am I positively witnessing to Christ in the world? How might I be, in word or deed, acting as a counter witness and turning people away from Him?