“They devoted themselves to the apostles? teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed? .They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Acts Chapter 2: 42-47
Pentecost is one of my most favored among the liturgical seasons. It is a season of joy and possibility! Acts vividly describes the sense of optimism and hope of the early church in this season. Starting from the first day of Pentecost when God?s Holy Spirit descends on the early believers, the 1st-century church is moved from an anxious prone, frightened group of people to become a movement filled with power and purpose.
The book of Acts describes wonderful stories of miracles, but the greatest wonders in this book revolve around the healing of the heart. For it is through the power of God that people are enabled to forgive and be compassionate. They find the courage to overcome social barriers to see themselves in others. They are even able to find strength and resilience to follow Christ’s model even at personal cost. The Holy Spirit in Pentecost helps early Christians to see God’s vision for the world and trust to move forward toward that Kingdom. It is the same spirit of God that enables any church in any era to not only survive but thrive. I sense the same spirit of God working at Christ Church. Week in and week out, we see our church services overflowing with joyful and hopeful people!
However, this joy and hope are not contingent on personal circumstance. Every one of our church members faces profound challenges, but the problems do not overcome us. Because week in and week out our church gathers to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, and prayer. We sing hymns. Each week we take in holy bread and wine which sustain us. It is these practices and faithful attitudes that help our people find joy even in challenging times!
This year our church will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday on June 9th, 2019. On this Sunday the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold has graciously accepted our invitation to be with us. It will also be our Celebration Sunday, the day we will as a whole church celebrate the current success of our Capital Campaign! It is a great miracle already that we have raised over $1.1 million! We hope that by June 9th we will have reached our Parish goal of 100% Parish participation in our campaign. If we do, this indeed will be another great miracle! It signifies that the people of Christ Church are willing to trust God, committing our resources and gifts as we advance the Kingdom of Jesus in Westerly, Connecticut, and the world! What does 100% participation mean? It means that each parishioner gives as they can to help the campaign. It does not have to be a significant gift or pledge. The success of our campaign is also a sign of the Holy Spirit working in the life of our fantastic community!
My friends in Christ, may God?s Holy Spirit richly bless you in this beautiful season of Pentecost! May the Spirit of God help you to be resilient and hopeful. May God bless our church, like the church of Acts, to be a place of miracles and transformation!