Pentecost for me is a second Christmas. On Christmas we recognize Jesus, God with us, coming to earth. On Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Spirit, God in us, coming to earth.
On a holy day, the Feast of First Fruits, God poured out his spirit on the disciples, men and women. As they were filled they went out to the crowds of foreigners who had come to celebrate in Jerusalem and they began to speak in each of those foreign languages the good news of God’s love for us manifested in Jesus Christ. It was the first fruits of people joining the disciples in following Jesus Christ as a community.
Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost in a whole different manner than usual. Like the disciples, we met and prayed. Then, like them again, we went out into the community and shared the gospel in a whole different language. Our language was not Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, or Swahili. It was the language of love, hard labor, and attention.
Yesterday, some of us went to the park and cleared off all the brush, including some small trees and shrubs that had accumulated on the hill the kids use for sledding in the winter. Another group went to the nursing home, where they connected one on one with the residents through games and music. Another smaller group worked on organizing our food pantry. And, don’t forget Meghan, who came to watch babies so parents could participate!
Just like that first Pentecost, there were a lot of "first fruits" yesterday:
1. We had three KICK families who don’t attend worship join us to serve yesterday.
2. Carolyn Farmer led a service project…her first time in leadership.
3. 20 people beyond our congregation have “liked” our work on the sled hill on Facebook through Amy’s post. That is a witness to the community.
4. The food pantry is full and ready.
5. We had 36 people serve. I have shared before that the rule of thumb in ministry is that usually 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Yesterday we did more than double that with half of our congregation serving others. REMARKABLE!
6. We had people of all ages from babies to people in their eighties serving together, showing our commitment to service and diversity as a body.
7. We had people new to serving beside us.
All this plus the many clear witnesses shared during our time together afterwards. I can’t think of another Pentecost where the “First Fruits” of God’s kingdom were better preached than in what our congregation did yesterday. Thanks be to God for not just reminding of us of a day long gone, but performing a Pentecost among us!