Word of the Week

Pentecost Possibilities

My favorite Sunday of the year is hands down: Pentecost. I loved having a chance to preach it this year at this church.

Who doesn't love an excuse to wear red, adorn the church with colorful banners and have a birthday cake at coffee hour after worship?  And personally, I love having an excuse to buy Pentecost shoes (an annual tradition).

But then it's one day. And, it's over. We pack away all the red till next year.

And in the same way, it seems that our "Spirit-filled" language seems to cease too.

(Unless we are Christians who are members of a Pentecostal denomination such as the Assemblies of God, Four Square or a non-denominational congregation).

Especially in the mainline church, where I spend most of my time,  we don't talk about the Holy Spirit all too often.

Maybe we think we're too busy with other things? Maybe because we believe one Sunday does it all? Or maybe we're just afraid.

If I got to vote, I'd say the mainline church is afraid. We're because the Spirit is not something we can control or put into a pre-planned and printed order of worship. We're afraid of the label  "Pentecostals." We want our worship to be respectable, intellectual, and in the pews with appropriate space from our neighbors.

But, might there be another possibility, even for us "frozen chosen" or "back row Baptists" or "contemplative types?"

This past Sunday at the church I've been attending in Oklahoma City, we had Pentecost day round 2.

It was a bit strange at first. After checking out the bulletin as the prelude played, I leaned over to Kevin and commented, "Don't they know that Pentecost was 2 Sundays ago?" Maybe they just forgot?

As the service continued, we heard the same scripture from earlier in the month (Acts 2). We sang Spirit acknowledging hymns. The preacher preached with a red stole around his neck.

But there was point. As the proclaimer started his remarks, he started with this claim. We are all Pentecostal people.

Like those gathered in Jerusalem on that first Pentecostal day, for us as followers of Jesus, it doesn't matter our country of origin. It doesn't matter our language. We can understand each another because of the Spirit's presence among us.

The proclaimer said, the diversity of those in the congregation that first Pentecostal day was the message. The kingdom of God would always be lived out in community. The kingdom of God would always be lived out with different colors, accents and ways of worshiping present. We need not be afraid of the word Pentecost. For if we are followers of Jesus, we are all Pentecostal people.

Pentecost was not a day but a way of life.

So, in the spirit of this exhortation and something that has been on my mind for a while, I'm happy to announce that for the next several Thursdays, Preacher on the Plaza will be hosting a group of diverse guest bloggers.

They'll be musing about: what does it mean to walk in the Spirit today? How have they come to see themselves as Pentecostal people?

All of this comes with the hope that this summer will be a time for  new dreams, new visions, new words to describe our collective journey of faith. That though the church we worship in might be Baptist, Catholic or Reformed, we'd be ok with acknowledging our shared Pentecostal faith.

Joining the conversation next Thursday will be the fabulous, Rev. Abby Thornton Hailey and her experience of preaching Pentecost in another culture other than her own. Stay tuned.

Here's to hoping your weekend is full of Pentecostal possibilities!

(If you'd love to join in this series with a blog to share, contact me. I'd be glad to include your voice too!)