Spring is a good symbol for the life of the Church. This includes Parkway, as well as the Church Worldwide. Spring can show all the signs of new life, or not. As I write this, the world outside is enveloped in snow, even though it is mid-April. We can have Life, and New Life, even when it looks as if we are surrounded by frozen tundra.
Maybe that’s why Pentecost (May 20th) is the Birthday of the Church. In the midst of an annual Jewish holiday, God ‘gifted us’ with something new. This was what Jesus had promised! A force of wind so powerful that their awareness, the way they saw people, and even their language and understanding, changed. Suddenly, the room wasn’t full of strangers, foreigners from different lands, but instead it was filled with ‘family’. They understood each other, through different accents and languages, and they knew what each other meant when they spoke.
God invades our world, too! We can recognize the common humanity of children dying in Syria, of families suffering from famine in Africa. We see the common need and suffering of those around us, even when they speak or look differently than we do. We are family. These are our brothers and sisters in the Holy Spirit of God, just like on that first Pentecost.
Now we know! We can’t pretend that anyone is different than we are, because we know that they are our sisters and brothers. They may have different life experiences, but that can’t change the fundamental truth that we are related.
This is also true as Parkway explores relationships with other churches. Whether they are suburban, UCC, or other denominations, we are definitely sisters and brothers in the Holy Spirit, in the family of God, and that is the main thing. We may use different words, sing different songs, or experience a different feel in worship. That’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ‘ok.’ ‘New life’ means ‘different life.’
When a new child is born, or when someone joins the family, we don’t expect things to remain the same. Habits, routines, and family gatherings are different. There are new people around the table. There is new life in the family! This is true with us now. We are called to move into new life.
Spring, New Life, The Holy Spirit, Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. Let us walk into New Life with eyes, minds, and hearts wide open!