|“When the day of Pentecost came, they… were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1,4|
It has been quite a week. There is so much racial tension happening in our country right now, and historically, the church has often stayed silent, when it could have spoken up as a prophetic voice. So, I urge you: Speak up! Call out what is wrong but do it in Christian love. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Remember that the Kingdom of God is more diverse than we can even begin to imagine. Let us work towards breaking down systemic racism. Let us use our privilege when it can help raise others up, and let our privilege go when it brings others down. Let us have conversations with our sisters and brothers, listening deeply to what it is like to be a person of color in America today. And, most importantly, let us do it respectfully. Let us be patient with those who do not understand their privilege or the depths of systemic racism.
Today is the day of Pentecost, the “birth day” of the Church, when God sends the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. In reading our scripture from Acts 2, I am struck by the image of ‘breath’ for the Holy Spirit. The Biblical words for the Holy Spirit, ‘ruach‘ in Hebrew and ‘pneuma‘ in Greek, both translate ‘breath‘. During a week when our country has added 100,000 people to the world’s population who have died of Coronavirus, which robs the breath from their lungs, and in which a man named George Floyd died, robbed of his breath by a different sort of virus. I offer this as an extended breath prayer as we prepare for Pentecost worship:
whose Holy Spirit breathes the breath of life
into our lungs and into our world,
we pray for those who cannot breathe:
from the virus Covid-19 attacking our world,
and from the sickness of racism and violence
ravaging our hearts and lives.
Breathe the breath of life back into us, God,
for we are suffocating in heart, mind, soul, and body.
We offer our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ,
who breathed Shalom, Peace, Healing, and Wholeness
onto his disciples and into the world he came to save,
On this day of Pentecost, I hope you will invite the Holy Spirit once more into your hearts and your lives. You may find our worship service on YouTube and posted to our Bethel UMC Facebook page. Links to our Facebook page, YouTube channel, and an order of worship are shared below.
Bethel’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bethelmethodistcolumbia.
Bethel’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOPfIqRQ6Nt6B3-bxNyPJDA.
If you would like to receive a DVD of our worship service, please email a request to Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to send you one!
If you are in need, please do not hesitate to let us know. The church office is closed, but we are checking the voicemail messages and emails regularly. The telephone number to the church office is (803) 787-3058, and the church office email is email@example.com.
Pastor Julie and Pastor Reggie may be reached directly on their personal cell phones at any time.
Julie Belman: (803) 319-6169
Reggie Rowell: (843) 697-6967
May the Peace of Christ surround you today, and always,