By the time you read this letter, Pentecost will be upon us. Jesus would have ascended back to heaven and the Holy Spirit would come as promised to be our helper here on earth. When we think about the Holy Spirit, we may think about the wind. You might recall that as far back as creation,
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.´ (Genesis 1:1)
At the time of Pentecost, the disciple Luke describes it as feeling like “the rush of a violent wind…” (Acts 2:2 NRSV). The wind though could be heard but not seen. Like the winds that we have been experiencing lately blowing across Long Island, we do not see it but we see the effects of it. The effect the wind had on those early believers had been clearly seen.
The Holy Spirit was definitely among us on April 22 when we gathered to reflect on the church’s past. At one point, the congregation broke up into small groups and asked each other questions such as: Has God ever rescued you? What are you most thankful for and what are you most sorry about? I could not see the Holy Spirit blowing through the church that day, but I could hear the laughter and the honest reflections about the ups and downs that occur in every close-knit community. The energy level in the room was amazing! The Holy Spirit was with us!
Later we came back together and the group responded to several questions based on their conversations. Here are the responses.
Times that have brought us joy…
- The Closing hymn every Sunday
- Still alive to enjoy the fruits of our ancestors, the saints who have become before us
- You can sing loud and off-key and it is okay
- Hearing the children play the bells
- Church family/all children involved
- All the Church mice quietly working
Times that have been watershed moments for our Churc…
- After a previous pastor left the church moved from an autocratic to congregational model
- Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Church in 2008
- Installation of stained glass windows in the Church
- When there was an active youth ministry in the Church
- When our young people went on Youth Mission trips
When the Council met in May, we discussed the event and they were asked three more questions.
- What did you learn about yourselves during the event? The response was enthusiastic in that they began to remember the great uplifting stories they had heard from others. Those who were there learned things about themselves that they have never known before.
- What do you seem to value? When they looked at the responses, they realized that they valued friendship, family and fellowship. They also found acceptance and forgiveness.
- What do you long for when you think about the church? The response was that they wanted to see more people in church, younger people, more children and have a church that thrives.
What do you think? What do you long for in your house of worship?
During this season of Pentecost, I pray that the Holy Spirit would be with us, blowing in and around us, causing us to move in new and wonderful ways!
I thank God for you,
Rev. Kathy Nealand, Interim Pastor