Posted by: smstrouse | June 7, 2014

Pentecost/ Pluralism/ Planning 2014

Acts 2:1-4. When the day of Pentecost came. Pastel & pen. 26 May 2012.I’m writing this as I prepare for three converging activities tomorrow. It’s Pentecost Sunday, which is often described as the birthday of the church. I found a really nice painting of the coming of the Holy Spirit to a group of people obviously of many different ethnicities. However, when I checked its copyright information, I discovered that the artist had some rules for its use.

I was free to use it only if I agreed to a list of belief statements, including that “the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God.” I also had to “believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his vir­gin birth, his sin­less life, his aton­ing death, his bod­ily res­ur­rec­tion, his ascen­sion to the right hand of the Father and his per­sonal return in power and glory. I believe that Jesus alone is the medi­a­tor between God and man.”

Needless to say I didn’t use it.

Interfaith-4-people-clipart

Especially since tomorrow we’ll also be celebrating Pluralism Sunday, in which we “affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.”
(from the 8 Points of Progressive Christianity      http://progressivechristianity.org)

We’ll be using the Global Mass, put together by our music director, Orion Pitts. He’s gathered chants, hymns and songs from many different traditions to create a liturgy that expresses the diversity of our world.

This will also kick off another summer of interfaith engagement with members of our community from other religions and from no religion, who will be invited to share how their tradition informs how they care for the earth.

And then it’s also the day of our annual meeting. I hasten to add that our annual meetings are not the usual fare. We take just a brief time to conduct necessary business, and then move into a time of exploration and discussion about our congregation’s ministry.

This year 141_spiritualnotreligious_widewill be interesting because it’s been just a year that we voted to enter into partnership with St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church to do outreach ministry to the “spiritual but  not religious” folks of our community. I also hasten to add that we’re not doing this as a way of getting people into our doors to fill up the pews. We are offering a space for people, wherever they are on the spiritual spectrum, to talk about their hopes and hurts. We expect that a new community will emerge from this, but we don’t know what that’s going to look like. To me, it sounds just like the early church in the days after the first Pentecost.

So we’ll be talking about that – celebrating the year past and planning for the year to come.

Pentecost Flamming Cupcakes '11
I’m not too big on the birthday of the church idea.  After all, it’s the institutional church that brought us things like “the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his vir­gin birth, his sin­less life, his aton­ing death, his bod­ily res­ur­rec­tion, his ascen­sion to the right hand of the Father and his per­sonal return in power and glory. I believe that Jesus alone is the medi­a­tor between God and man.”

However, I am very big on Pentecost. I love the imagery of fire and doves and rushing wind. I love the color red splashed throughout the sanctuary as members sport their red socks, shoes, shirts, earrings – however the Spirit moves them! It’s a fun day!

We sound have more like it.

 

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