It’s Been a long Time Since that First Pentecost, but here we are.
Rev. Jonathan David Faulkner
On Sunday our Priest surprised us by shouting: “Happy Birthday” at the beginning of the service. The result was mass panic and confusion. That is until he explained that it is Pentecost and at Pentecost we celebrate the birthday of the Church, the People of God, who dwell in Organic Unity transcending time and space. On Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came in power, the people of God were emboldened to carry forward that great message of salvation that has been passed down from the Apostles to us and which we confess each week as we partake in the Eucharist; “Christ is Died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again!” The day that the prophet Joel prophesied about is here, and we still live in it today.
But this Pentecost, even with all its joy, my heart is heavy. My heart is heavy because the prayer of Jesus that we might be one, answered by God in the coming of the Holy Spirit, that prayer that we may be one, looks so far from answered. Same with the prayer that we might love one another with the same love that exists between the Father and the Son (John 17:20-26) Seems like so distant and far off. On the Churches Birthday we are surrounded still to this day by sect, schism and segregation. On this, the Churches Birthday, Sexual Abuse survivors have been attacked and maligned by men in leadership more interested in protecting their power and influence while claiming that the report that outlines over 700 cases of Sexual Assault and abuse that were covered up: “For the sake of the Gospel Mission of the SBC.” Today, there are those in the Church who would rather chase after the idol of political and cultural influence, and who are quicker to defame their Christian Brother as: “woke” than to denounce the political idolatry of their secular peers. Today, on the Church’s Birthday, there are those who would rather fight the mythical monster of “CRT in Schools and Churches” than deal with the actual issue of Christian Nationalism, and Idol. Today in the Church, on her birthday, there are those who justify mass shootings and police brutality and will do anything and everything to avoid the call to: “Grieve with those who grieve, mourn with those who mourn.”
We are so far from the truth, from what actually exists, The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We have glorified sin, found solace in violence. The love that exists between the Son and the Father, the mutual, unending love that should exist in the church, seems to have been forgotten.
Yes, this is not true everywhere, and remember, Twitter is not reality, still we have grieved the Holy Spirit with our actions, with our endless dividing, our endless culture wars, our endless interdenominational squabbles. Our inability to love the stranger, to love each other and love each other well. On this, the Churches Birthday it seems we have more in common with those whom Christ tells to depart from him, because He does not know us.
Oh God forgive us, hear our cry Oh God, return unity to our walls, restore us by your Holy Word. As we pray together the liturgy, profess together Christ crucified and risen. May we lay aside our foolish and deadly squabbles. May we become a people who are devoted to you, who are one, just as you are one with the father, may you restore to us the love that exists between you and the Son. Oh God forgive us for our endless culture wars, for our idolatry, teach us to repent, chastise us so that we may be clean, Oh God help us, Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy, Immortal One, have mercy on us. We need you father, our sisters need you, our preachers need you, humble your people father, teach us to fear you again.