A New Pentecost

Do You Feel the Fresh Air?

Today is Pentecost—the birthday of the Church.

We could spend today remembering the first Pentecost.

We could celebrate the New Pentecost. Our Pentecost.

We stand, sit, and kneel today at a time when the Church is being reborn.

Many look at statistics and see decline. Without a new Pentecost, this thinking could prevail.

I’m betting it won’t. It may seem like a long shot—but hey!—Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit!

There is a great shift in society—one that will greatly benefit the church—if we allow it. The video above explains this shift — mostly from a societal and governmental standpoint. It applies to the Church, too.

A new tongued-flame is swooshing into our sanctuary cages. Just as on the first Pentecost, it is landing on our heads. Stale air is being sucked out. In its place is a great rush of new power. Can you feel it?

It is the power of the individual.

Is this different from that first Pentecost? Probably not. The gathered disciples, including the often unnamed women, experienced a great empowerment that day.

We look back on that day and imagine that all of church structure was magically set in place that day—with all the limitations and constraints that actually developed since.

On that first Pentecost, there were no pronouncements about qualifications for ordination—no breaking the faithful into gender specific roles and rules. No kisses on the ring of any pope. No constitutions were written that day. No votes were taken. Just a magnificent empowerment. The disciples left that room and went their own ways and began carrying the Gospel to the ends of the earth—on foot.

In our New Pentecost, we are not locked in a room with people just like us. Instead, we sit alone with our laptops, pads or mobile phones, easily connecting with others in faraway places. There is no cacophony of voices in separate languages. English unites the world. The power of the individual is being unleashed anew.

One of the true struggles in the Church is what to do with this power. We are used to thinking in terms of managing the power of Christians in groups, funneling individual efforts into sanctioned lines of service. This was once a strength.

Today’s New Pentecost is sapping this strength but not without infusing a new energy.

The Church of today and tomorrow must focus on the power of the individual—not to rein it in for the satisfaction of earthly order but to prepare individuals for unfettered use of the Holy Spirit.

It’s time for us in the Church to view our time and talent anew. We don’t have to wait until we are confirmed. We don’t have to wait for committee approval. We don’t have to seek out a congregation where we fit in and wait for years to work our way into leadership roles. The waiting is over.

Happy Birthday, Church. Happy Birthday, Brothers and Sisters.