Today, as I begin to write, is Pentecost. It is the "next act" in the story, the "sequel" to the Jesus story. Christ is risen, and Christ is ascended. Now what? The disciples gather for prayer, to wait on God, for ten days. The gift of the Spirit, to young and old, women and men alike, is poured out in fire and wind, in speaking and hearing, for repentance and baptism. Jesus said, "The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14.12). Today, the church of Jesus Christ continues these "greater works" (mind-blowing, yes), through faith in Jesus and by the power of the Spirit.
It is our faith in Jesus that brings us together. In exactly one month from Pentecost, the movers will arrive at our door in York and begin to load the truck. One day later we’ll be unloading in Mountain Top. And though our journey together is just beginning, we have already caught a glimpse of the joy that will accompany it and the blessings that attend it. It is YOU – gifted and passionate people who care deeply about making more disciples for Jesus Christ and offer true hospitality to stranger and guest.
I want to take a moment to thank Pastor Stephen. His hospitality toward our family and his affection for you have made our transition process a smooth one. He arranged the opportunities for me to meet your staff and leadership, he spent several hours with me sharing his vision and experience here, and he gave us freedom to roam his home with measuring tape and camera! I am grateful for his ministry reflection, informed by biblical imagination and hopeful vision, and I look forward to continuing this adventure with you as your pastor and to discerning together our next steps into God’s future.
In one sense, I am made your pastor by appointment, under the authority of the bishop. But that is only the beginning. I become your pastor as we open our hearts and lives to one another. So, my first priority is that becoming, taking the time to know and be known. One of the ways we’ll be doing this is by a series of gatherings in homes. It is in smaller groups that God constantly works to form the building blocks of the faith community, and we will have the opportunity to experience this together. Stay tuned for more details as we make these arrangements.
I’ll close with prayer, a Pentecost prayer from The Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Stepping out together on new adventures with Jesus!