As I reflected on the Lectionary passages for this week, I remembered that last year at this time, I wrote about the disciples’ question in Acts 1:6, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” For the disciples, this was a question of returning to a Jewish nation ruled by a Davidic King. For us, a year ago, it was a desire to return to the church of January 2020. Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit to all believers changes everything.
Here’s an excerpt from that article written about a year ago:
Rather than returning to a familiar past, God launched the world on a new trajectory. Pentecost opened a new and divinely-empowered future as the Holy Spirit was released upon faithful disciples waiting for the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. With the gift of the Spirit, the once-fearful followers of Jesus become bold proclaimers of the good news of Jesus Christ. With the presence of the Spirit, people heard the gospel’s promise in the language of their context. Both in speaking and in hearing, the Spirit assisted the proclamation of God’s love fully offered in Jesus Christ.
I want to thank both the churches of the district for following God’s leading and letting the Spirit work through them. During the past year, churches did not wait passively or idly. Rather, with a deep love of Jesus, a desire to continue Christ’s mission and determined discipleship, new and enhanced ministries continued the work of God’s outreaching love in the world.
The light of Christ was not hidden underneath a bushel, but was put on full display in acts of compassion, mercy and justice. Food pantries and grocery distributions were strengthened, both within local churches and at community centers. Some were highly organized, others offered parking lot pantries where individuals came and filled shelves for all who were hungry. Some churches found ways to do safe meal deliveries. Both clergy and laity found new ways to connect with congregation and community members through calls, cards or porch visits. In many cases, the church was more intentional about caring for each other than when they would see each other every Sunday morning. Virtual meetings allowed persons who were largely confined to their own living space to join prayer meetings and Bible studies. Many churches delved deeply into antiracism work to discover how we can work towards equity.
For all this work, I am truly grateful. Church has looked a little different these past 12 months, but the cause of Christ remained undimmed. Truly we lived into the name given to the early Christian community in Acts – the Way. We were not defined by our building, but by our faith put into action. I pray God will continue to guide and empower each of you as we continue our faithful work.
If you would like to view past editions of Moments with Mike, follow this link: https://corridordistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/