Acts 2:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-13
Our Narrative Lectionary Year ends this week with Pentecost. There are suggested sermon series through the summer, if you’re interested, at Working Preacher.
But before summer preaching decisions, we have a birthday to celebrate. Pentecost marks the birth of the church, when the gifts of the Spirit are poured out upon gathered disciples.
Most of us will not be able to gather close together, as those first disciples did that day. We trust the Spirit that blew through that gathering, allowing people to understand their neighbors speaking different languages, will also be able to find us where we are, maybe even bringing the church new gifts for this new day.
In Corinthians, Paul gives us a list of gifts, and then says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
It’s a helpful reminder in an age when people often try to claim their giftedness by God is only intended to benefit themselves, or their own pocketbook, or their own agenda.
We aren’t given the gifts of wisdom, prophecy, healing, miracles, and sarcasm (wait, I’m being told my sarcasm is not, in fact, a spiritual gift….) for our own edification. The gifts of energy, imagination, intelligence, and love (as the ordination vows in the PCUSA frame them) are given for the benefit of the common good.
What are the gifts for the common good that you would put on our birthday wish list this year?
Some of us may have very specific requests, like better video editing software, as online worship becomes a requirement for most churches, and not just a bonus offering from bigger churches. Others of us may think of gifts more broadly, like the ability to accept imperfect online worship as an offering, pleasing and acceptable to God. selah.
Those may be pastor-focused gifts I just listed, but what are the gifts of the Spirit our congregations need in these new days? How are your people finding new ways to be the church while we can’t gather in person? Share your ideas and brag on your people. Maybe we can inspire each other into new visions, new dreams.
The church I serve normally decorates the sanctuary well for Pentecost.
This year, the building will be empty, but the church isn’t closed. We will still gather online, and we are still doing the work God has placed before us, which was never confined to the building in the first place. We are asking people to wear red, and post photos on social media with a hashtag for the church. I just had my knee replaced last week, so I’ll be preaching, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to wear my usual Pentecost footwear of red cowboy boots. Stay tuned!
How are you marking Pentecost in new ways this year?
Recognizing that each of our contexts is wildly unique, are there one or two online worship ‘tips’ that have really helped you? Feel free to share links to your services so we can learn from each other.
Please add your liturgy ideas, your ideas for Time with the Children, your worship links, your sermon starts, and brag on your people–join the party!
Marci Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the boards of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and the Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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