Last Sunday was the end of another season in the Christian calendar. In fact, Pentecost Sunday marks the end of Jesus’ story in which we reflect from Advent through Pentecost Sunday. From now on until we arrive again to the Advent Season, we are called to reflect about who we are as the Church of Christ. Put differently, we are invited to rethink ourselves, and to rethink church – to rethink what it means to be the Church of Christ in such a time like this.
Something else we cannot ignore is that this week, as Wesleyans, we also celebrate “Aldersgate Day,” the day in which John Wesley felt his heart “strangely warm.” Both, Pentecost and Aldersgate Day, give us a lot of food for thought as we rethink our selves – as we rethink Church.
When the early Church and John Wesley experienced the work of the Spirit at the time, they experienced clarity amid confusion, they experienced empowerment to live out the call God has placed upon them, and they experienced redemption and restoration. Although it seems things are getting better in terms of the pandemic, we still need clarity about what kind of Church we ought to be in a post pandemic era. We need the strength and empowerment to faithfully respond to God’s call to be the kind of Church our world needs. We need to keep experiencing redemption and restoration in the sinful areas in our lives.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend time with my nieces and nephews, their ages range from 17 to 25. At some point, as we were talking about different topics, we ended up talking about politics – yes I now, that is a dangerous topic. However, I was impressed by the level of critical thinking they were showing as they shared their convictions, but the point I want to make is that one of them said at some point in the conversation: “What is worse than a politician is Church people.” I guess my nephew forgot for a moment that I am pastor, and the thing is that we quickly moved to a different topic, but I keep thinking about his declaration.
I wonder how many people have that opinion. I wonder how many young people have that opinion. I wonder what adjustments can be done to transform that opinion. The truth is that there are many things that the Church is doing right, and we need keep doing it and celebrate it. Sadly, those who are not in the Church, do not know God, do not have experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, or who have distanced themselves from God and the Church, very often know more about what we are not doing right as a Church. Consequently, we keep missing opportunities to be instruments of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in them.
Rethinking ourselves, and rethinking church in general is becoming more urgent than ever in this time. A good beginning is asking ourselves what are the areas in which we need clarity. We also need to challenge ourselves to be bolder to do God’s will, and to be more holy. As we do this, we will also experience the same power the disciples at Pentecost and John Wesley experienced then, bringing redemption and restoration into our lives.
Almighty God, we acknowledge your glory and strength.
Son of God, Jesus, we glorify and worship your name.
Holy Spirit, your voice is powerful and transformative.
Your voice is like a fire that brings clarity amid darkness.
Your voice makes the earth shake and tremble, but also brings peace
and strength to your people. May you continue empowering us and blessing us
with your peace. Amen.
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael, follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/