We recently celebrated Pentecost. It is a joyful time in the church as it commemorates the birth of the church. Thousands of Jews were in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Wheat Harvest on that fiftieth day after the first Easter, when Jesus was risen from the dead.
As Peter was speaking to the people at that festival, what we know as Pentecost (50 days after Easter) men and women broke out speaking in many different tongues, tongues they had never studied or should have known. Many heard the words of the Gospel in their own languages and were able to understand. As Jews returned to their homes in different parts of the world, the Gospel spread. God’s plan was pretty amazing, actually. How else would it have happened in a time of no internet or public broadcasting?
Recently I was privileged to hear The Rev. Becca Stevens preach about Pentecost. I have a new perspective. It is a much fuller understanding, certainly a richer one about the power of Pentecost. Of course, Pentecost was a time that the Gospel was sent to the whole world, to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, for their understanding of the Gospel. But it is also personal. Pentecost is not just head knowledge, it is heart. It is soul. It is Spirit. It is the manifestation of the power of Love.
“It is not just a passage in Scripture but how we live and how we pray and move and have our being.” We are to bear witness to the power of the holy Spirit in our lives. “It is bearing witness of the radical truth that we are the breath of God made in the image of God. We must bear witness to what love looks like in our lives.” Actually Bishop Michael Curry (our presiding bishop) said much the same in his homily at the Royal wedding on Saturday. Speaking to 1.9 billion people throughout the world, he spoke a language of love about the Pentecostal power of love.
So to bear witness, we gathered on Pentecost and walked the streets of Davison to pray. In doing so we were also part of Davison Serve Week with seven other Christian Communities, Davison Assembly of God, Davison Free Methodist Church, Davison Missionary Church, Davison First Baptist Church, Davison United Methodist Church, Journey Ministries, St. John’s Catholic Church, and us, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, who worked and prayed together during this week. Our prayer walk was a gathering of people from age one to eighty one.
I am always amazed that no matter how much I think I am serving God, God gives me far greater blessings in return. It was a wonderful prayer walk on Main Street where I felt a new bond with Davison people, a connection with customers and business personnel, where we found congregational involvement in those businesses and heard the history lessons from Barb Taylor and Ken Ballard about them.
I never realized how closely we are all intertwined as we saw the place where one of our four year old girls takes gymnastics, the massage establishment where a young mom works, the bank that our money has run through for years. That money has helped us to build three senior apartment buildings in Davison and buy the land for Children of Hope and Destiny in Malawi Africa, and build the homes for the children in Malawi. We prayed for the businesses who support us in our ministries such as Larson’s Hardware store and Hilton Screeners where we bought our T shirts. We prayed at the building and for the personnel of the MTA, who recently moved from that terminal, and the Your Ride drivers who are always so wonderful to our people.
We stood and prayed for those living to the South, the North, the East and the West, for families, and schools. Yes, every school was named. We prayed for faculties and teachers and the kids. All the kids. We prayed for the food program initiated by Harold Steinman and the Davison Schools. We prayed for Living Grace Community Church on Main Street who has done so much in helping the seniors at Braidwood. We prayed for Jim Hansen of Hansen’s Funeral Home who was so gracious and generous in recently burying one of our own who had no money to be buried. We prayed for the barbers and the antique shop owners and the art shops and the bakery and the attorneys, for the police, first responders, firefighters, city and township personnel, and for the people who helped found and forge Davison into the community it has become. We prayed for the customers and owners of the restaurants that nourish so many in body and soul and just provide a place to hang out, a place where maybe not everybody but somebody “knows your name”.
The Spirit pours down us and our very breath is a gift from God. “Pentecost is the beginning of remembering that new breath.” We will continue to bear witness to God’s love and “We will spread that breath anyway we can.”
The Rev. Sue Colavincenzo is Priest-in-Charge of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Davison.
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