Friends of mine are within a couple of short weeks of the due date of their first child. The beautiful glow of expectant parenthood permeates them… and “bursting at the seams” is more than metaphor. They have engaged a midwife to coach, nurture, encourage and prepare them for what is to come.
Pentecost, in the Christian tradition, is celebrated as metaphor of God’s Holy Spirit sweeping into the lives of the faithful empowering the continued work of Christ in the world. I sometimes hear our folks refer to Pentecost as the birthday of the church. With birthdays we tend to look back and celebrate what has been. But Pentecost looks boldly to the future. I like to think of that biblical Pentecost as the rebirthing of faithful people into a new framework for love, compassion and justice.
The biblical (Acts 2) story of Pentecost tells of faithful Jews gathering from the four corners of the ancient world to celebrate God’s goodness (presumably an ancient spring harvest festival). Out of this gathering burst new communities dedicated to acts of love, compassion and works of justice. They “were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” (Acts 2:42-47).
It’s happening again! Faithful folks from all walks of life are being rebirthed into new communities dedicated to acts of love, compassion and works of justice. Some within the structures of existing congregations, many outside that traditional framework. Here are a couple of links to consider:
Beth Estock – “Greatness isn’t born, it’s grown” UMC New Church Starts
Elaine Heath – People of the New Day: A new monastic community New Day Dallas
Holy Spirit as midwife? I know little about the work of the midwife except that some friends have trusted one to bring their new life into this world. I just sense a deep hunger in people for community that moves their journey of spirit forward and makes a difference in the world.
Come, Holy Spirit! – Bill