Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Tomorrow marks the great celebration of Pentecost. Though we have not yet received permission from our Bishop, we are going out on a limb and declaring this Sunday to be Pajama Sunday at TLC. This unprecedented display of casual attire will give you the opportunity to show off your most fashionable sleepwear and worship God at the same time. Set your alarm for worship or sleep in, get out of bed or stay put and stay cozy, but do show up for worship. The community will be waiting for you.
The service will feature familiar inspirational music, and during Holy Communion we will be the first to hear a brand-new song written this week by Karl Olsen.
Pentecost remembers the miraculous moving of the Holy Spirit some 2,000 years ago. The story is recorded in the second chapter of Acts. Devout Jews from the far corners of the Roman Empire had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the Spring harvest festival called the “Feast of Weeks.” The yearly festival took place 50 days after Passover.
A handful of followers of Jesus were in Jerusalem. It had been 10 days since Jesus had ascended into heaven. Jesus had promised his followers the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit would lead them as they ventured out to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. They would need all the help that they could get. Remember, the Christian Church did not exist. There were no churches, no money, no plan, no pianos, no quilters, no choirs, and no coffee hours.
The Jews who came to Jerusalem had traveled from small towns and villages, they spoke a variety of languages, their skin color, dress, and diet were not uniform. In fact, among the pilgrims, nothing was uniform. It was a melting pot of cultures and races. Peter stood up to preach, when suddenly there were tongues of fire and a violent, rushing wind. The Holy Spirit of God moved with abandon through the crowd, and everyone understood what Peter was saying. And 3,000 were baptized that day.
The miracle of Pentecost was not confusion or conformity. The miracle was clarity, as everyone heard the good news in their own native tongue. The diversity of language, culture, food, and dress was always present in the church. God’s desire was never to make every flower a rose, every bird a robin, or every tree an oak. The diversity was a part of creation, not a mistake of evolution.
In this season of heightened racial tension, may we remember that all people were created in the image of God. All races and genders are precious. Bigotry, racism, prejudice of any kind, is contrary to the teachings of the one who cautioned us against judging and commanded that we love our neighbor. And who is this neighbor that I am supposed to love? They all are! The sooner that we get that straight, the better off our world will be.
Get out those pajamas, grab a cup of coffee, set up your home altar, and I will see you in the morning.
We are one day closer!