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May 31, 2020 – Pentecost Sunday
Our latest email …
Saturday morning, May 30, 2020.
To the Park Avenue Family,
As I sit down to write to you, my friends, two things are top of mind. First, the tragic events of the past week, which began with the killing of George Floyd and continue even as I write with the violence and destruction in South Minneapolis and across the Twin Cities. All these things weigh heavy on my heart, as it does on yours. My heart hurts. My soul aches. And I notice that my anger touches so many levels.
Second, we are experiencing all of this as we enter the season of Pentecost in the church. Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, a day that marks the birth of the church in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. My sermon, which you’ll hear, is about that. But I’m also struck by the passage in Acts 2:1-21, one of several Pentecost texts, which gives the account of the Spirit of God being poured out on all flesh.
Yes, all flesh. The Spirit of God pouring out on flesh of every hue to heal divisions, bridge divides, and create community – the human community of shalom-justice, goodness and compassion, unity and inclusion within the beauty of diversity. The kind of community God stays awake at night thinking about.
“They were all gathered together in one accord, in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language” (Acts 2:1-8)?
The real miracle hear is expressed in the question at the end of the paragraph:
“How is it that we hear, each of us, in our native language?”
I don’t know about you, but I would like to have a little more of that, please God. Perhaps we make this part of our prayer, both individually and with others. “Lord, by your Spirit poured out on us and breathed into us, would you give us the humility to hear, to listen, to understand one another in the languages they speak in order that we might co-create with you the beloved human community you dream about and call us to.”
The Park family has been active in many ways over the past week. Thank you for all you’re doing. This link goes to our website page where we will be posting ways you can help our church and city in the coming days. Keep in mind, the situation remains fluid, and we are adding to the list regularly. I would like to let you know that a team led by Whitney Orr Carlson and other faithful folks are creating a memorial for George Floyd to be placed on the church property so anyone in the church and community can come to pray and offer their condolences to the family. That should be ready by Sunday or Monday.
And of all the ways you can help, let me encourage you to pick up the phone and call members of our Park family in the neighborhood. Check on them. Listen to them. Love them. Offer to help and carry the weight of their burdens. The violence they have seen in the community we love has been unspeakable.
Much love, my friends.