This Sunday celebrated the Day of Pentecost. It is the recognition of a truly great gift that God is living with us. The service was enriched with the participation of the many national cultures that can be found in our congregation. Personal testimonies provided evidence of the ability of the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our spiritual journeys, and in our outreach to others. And finally, what better way to cap the day of celebration, than with a picnic that was held outside on a beautiful warm June day.
God’s Word began with the reciting of the 23rd psalm. A psalm which we know gives us great comfort in God’s love. The 23rd psalm was recited in 7 different languages by members of our community. This can be seen to illustrate how the Holy Spirit has worked since the time of the disciples and the first Pentecost, to spread the word of God to all nations in the world.
The heartfelt testimonials described personal impacts that the presence of the Holy Spirit has had, and how it has guided people on their personal spiritual journeys. The testimonials also brought to our attention what each of us can personally do to further the work of the Holy Spirit. Several testimonials mentioned the important role of welcoming visitors and new members into our church. For example, it was highlighted how it is important to follow-up our initial welcome with actions of inclusion. Inclusion is a choice that we make to reach out and put into action our welcome to a person. It can start with asking a person their name and where they are from. It is the first step of an active process that moves someone from feeling alone to feeling a part of God’s community that is present at St Andrew’s.
As I left the church by the north door, I passed under the stained glass with the Lamb of God supported by the 4 symbolic animals which are attributed to represent the four Evangelists, as described in today’s reading from the book of Revelation 7:9-12. It is a reminder that we are not alone. God is with us. The Holy Spirit of God can inspire, excite and empower us, to play an important role not only inside the church walls but also as we pass through the doors and go out into the larger community.