PENTECOST -- Click here for the Bible readings.
Today we celebrate how a small group of frightened people received the ability to overcome their fears and go out into the world proclaiming the message of Christ in a way that could be understood by all sorts of people. They did not know and we don't know exactly how it happened so we speak of it in metaphors of tongues of fire sweeping through the community, of many languages being heard, of a seeming drunkeness of the
Spirit. Ezekiel prophecied that the "dry bones" would take on new life - and this is what happened on that Pentecost Day with the followers of Christ.
This week a valiant warrior among the disciples of Jesus died. Canon Joyce Hogg was the Director of Networks and Special Projects for Episcopal Relief and Development. The way I got to know her was as my "boss" for my work as a Diocesan Coordinator for ER-D. She asked for and received quarterly reports of our work for ER-D, made sure we were prompt with our thank you notes to our generous donors, and tenderly ministered to us even in the midst of her own struggle with cancer. Just two weeks ago she led our annual convention of coordinators. I last saw her in the Jacksonville airport as she and her beloved husband, Bill, awaited their flight home. I knew things were not good with her health but she wanted to talke about the future of the Episcopal Church, the upcoming General Convention and election of the Presiding Bishop. Her last words were "see you in Columbus." Yes, I will see you, dear friend, in Columbus - not quite in the way I had hoped but in the thousand touches of your hands in helping Episcopal Relief and Development flourish and grow, in the wonderful energetic staff whom you loved fiercely, and in our hearts as we go on without your physical presence.
This, to me, is the message of Pentecost - that our hearts are afire with the passion to change the world into what God would have and that we light a spark in others that they might catch the same fire and carry on beyond our imaging. Thanks Joyce for your passion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that we pray will continue in us as we follow the command to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.
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