This Sunday we will gather at one service at 9:30 a.m. outside on the playground to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. As you remember, Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church. The disciples gathered in Jerusalem and received the Holy Spirit so that all who were around them could hear the Good News of God’s redemption. People from all over the known world were able to meet Christ in their own languages through the witness of Jesus’ friends, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Since Pentecost, followers of Jesus have been engaging the cultures around them so that the Good News can be proclaimed. Christians have been masters at adapting the language and customs of folks around the globe in order to share the Gospel. It is the case that too often the Gospel has been adulterated by colonialism and genocide. Over 2000 years, our ancestors participated in corrupt and violent structures, but they also were led by the Holy Spirit to create a universal web of mutual regard. The Christian tradition upholds the humanity of people and communities the world over; the Holy Spirit knows no national boundaries.
Nor is the Spirit limited to one mode of action or communication.
COVID blew through the world like a hot wind, driving us all inside and apart. Yet the Church was able to pivot to new means of connection and sharing the Gospel as we embraced technologies for worship, music, study, prayer and connection. The Holy Spirit has sustained us and brought us into a new world of possibility and community.
Over the course of this summer at 9:30 a.m. in the Havens Center and on Zoom, St. Stephen’s will resume our custom of experimentation. This year our summer experiment will be creating a worship service that is designed for those who are online. We are calling this offering MOCA, Making Online Community Accessible. We want to spend time in reflection on what we have learned throughout the pandemic and then experiment with worship that is designed for folks online. This is different from live streaming an in person Eucharist. We want to see how the Spirit might be moving through the medium of the internet to broaden our outreach. This will also help us in our Go Church initiative as we seek to show up in hybrid ways…in the flesh and online.
God’s Holy Spirit is already moving in the world. Our mission is to give witness and voice.
The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector