This coming Sunday we celebrate the third great feast in our Christian calendar: Pentecost Sunday (Christmas and Easter would be the other two). I've seen many churches across the country gearing up to reopen just in time for this great celebration. Unfortunately, we won't have that opportunity. But I wonder, in this time of shelter in place, is celebrating Pentecost at a distance from one another a good reminder for us all?
Yes, I know that on that day of Pentecost in Acts 2, "they were all together". But what if, by the power of the Spirit we are still all together...even while living and worshipping apart? What if the coming of the Holy Spirit, as a gift to God's people, was meant for (among many other things!) such a time as this?
In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther writes in his explanation of the third article of the Apostles' creed:
"I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith."
Even now, as each of us longs more and more to be together, to worship together, to hear God's Word together, and to receive Christ's body and blood together, we can still take great comfort that the Holy Spirit, who gathered us together in the first place, is keeping us together in Christ. Yes, the Holy Spirit is still at work in each of us and in the entire Christian Church as we continue to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and respond in prayer, praise, and love for our neighbors.
Rest assured that the St. Mark leadership and I are working on a reentry plan that will allow us to safely worship together, ensuring that the health of our congregation and the entire Sunnyvale community remains a priority. More than that, though, rest assured in the promises of God:
And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh...And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Joel 2:28, 32)
With you in Christ,