I went to an Alabama football game last fall, and I could not help but notice all the smartphones. At kick-off there were thousands of smartphones capturing video, taking photos, snapping selfies, and posting to social media. We see the world through these little handheld devices.
In some ways the Holy Spirit is like that. You see, what the Holy Spirit does in me is just one small piece of what God is doing in our world. Like looking at the action of a football game through a smartphone, you only get a glimpse of the bigger picture. But when you pick your eyes up, all of a sudden you see everyone else that is part of the same game as well.
As the Church celebrates Pentecost this Sunday, June 9th, we are reminded that what the Holy Spirit does in me is not unrelated from what the Holy Spirit does in you. I firmly believe that the same Holy Spirit is at work in all of us as we serve the one Lord Jesus Christ!
Because the Holy Spirit is present in all, there is a great unity that we often don’t see or recognize. That’s what I saw at the football game as so many people were looking through the screen of a smartphone. We are all part of the same action and work of God in our world, but do we lift our eyes up to see it?
And so I want to share two places where I have seen that kind of unity in our own community…
First, the Bread of Life soup kitchen began to feed those in need, and currently it represents the largest inter-denominational ministry in our community. I don’t think we as a community realize how powerful it is that we have been serving together for almost a decade now, feeding three days every week!
And secondly, during Holy Week each year our community literally spends an entire week worshiping together. This year that week started with a community worship service at Wills Valley Community Church on Palm Sunday evening. Every weekday of Holy Week we worshiped and broke bread together at First Presbyterian Church, and finally early on Easter Sunday we heard the Resurrection preached at the sunrise service at DeSoto State Park. I do not know if we realize how powerful it is that our community spends a week in worship together!
This kind of unity can only come from the Holy Spirit, and so while we celebrate Pentecost at our churches this Sunday, let us also celebrate how the Holy Spirit brings our community together to serve our Lord.
– Ian Conerly is the pastor of New Oregon United Methodist Church