“When the day of Pentecost had come, [Jesus’ followers] were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind…. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them…. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Acts 2:1-4)
Pentecost—the fiftieth day of Easter—marks the birth of the Christian Church. This year the season of Pentecost marks the beginning of the rebirth of the church following fourteen months of separation, as California begins reopening.
But, of course, the church didn’t die on March 15, 2020. It didn’t even go into hibernation. It was just different.
And because of what we learned in those long months apart, the church will always be different. We have become more comfortable with the idea that community does not just mean those who gather under one roof. When we resume worship in our church building, we must continue to have a worship presence that goes beyond the building.
Each week we have had persons worshiping with us not only in the Sacramento area but across the nation, even across the world! To keep this connection even as we worship in-person, we will continue to live stream our services and archive them on YouTube. This is the spirit of Pentecost alive in the Twenty-first Century! We are speaking in a new language, a digital language that breaks down the dotted lines on the map.
Change is always a painful thing. I am sure that the early followers of Jesus were terrified by the wind, fire, and speech that Holy Spirit thrust upon them. We have every right to be a bit terrified by what comes next. But we must not let fear drive us. Instead, let us use this Pentecostal moment as an opportunity to see how Pioneer Church can serve a community that goes far beyond our block across from Sutter’s Fort.
The Spirit is calling.
Pastor Bill Pifer-Foote