May 31, 2015 Rev. Dawn Hyde

Pentecost

As four of us sat in a car last Sunday evening, looking for an escape from the harsh, bitter, piercing, San Francisco wind, I couldn’t help but think we had made a huge mistake. Holding worship outside in the park sounded like such a great idea. The sun would be shining, we would have a nice little picnic complete with cake, and we would be present in the community that surrounds us. What could possibly go wrong? While setting up the area, the wind began to pick up and we quickly discovered that everything we brought would need to be weighed down or we would have to chase it. Tables were flipping, balloons flying away, and our chairs decided to try and cross the street. After an incident with a dog that was very interested in the communion elements, we finally asked the question, should we just go back inside?

This week serves as a stark reminder that it is hard to go out. It is hard to leave the comfort of our sanctuaries. It is hard to leave the familiar to go to the unknown. Our original intent for gathering outside, in the community, this week was to emphasize our call to reach beyond our walls. God calls us out into the world to continue the ministry of Jesus. At Pentecost, the disciples were locked in an upper room, hidden, scared, trying to escape the harsh conditions they found themselves in. Jesus, risen from the grave, had been with them again, and left them again. And now they waited…again. The good news is that the story doesn’t end there. The disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and emboldened to go out. Tongues of fire rest on their head and they go out preaching the good news of Jesus in the languages of everyone gathered. Their previous inhibitions are so absent that observers called them drunk! This is truly an event worth celebrating, but then we have days like Sunday, and we remember the 1st chapter in Acts. We remember that the work God calls us to is hard for so many reasons.

So we ended up back inside. I don’t like calling it the church, because I don’t believe the Church is a building. After all, the passage we read this week doesn’t mention breaking ground on the first sanctuary, and yet Pentecost is known as the birth of the Church. In this case; however, I think I can make an exception. I’ll say we ended up back in the church. I make this exception, because this week the church provided shelter. It provided a place where we could be in fellowship with one another. It provided a place where we could worship God together. It provided a place where we could be comforted. It provided a place where we could hear good news in our lives where there may be none. It provided a place where we could be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is what we do as the Church in the world. We ended up back in the Church because WE are the Church. May we find hope and courage knowing that the Holy Spirit will continue to strengthen and comfort us as we go out to be the Church in the world.



– Christopher Smith, Music Leader