A Message From The Rector - "Dreaming Big"
Summertime is a moment when many of us stop, take a rest, and search for renewal. For some of us that might look like a visit to the beach. For others, fishing or hiking in the mountains might be the ticket. Or perhaps simply traveling to a new city fills us up. However we choose to spend this season, summer is synonymous with charging and renewing our spirits.
With all this in mind, I have been thinking of summertime through the lens of the big church celebration we just marked a few weeks back: Pentecost. The story of Pentecost is a relatively simple one, but has massive implications. Often called “the birthday of the church,” Pentecost is the moment in which Jesus’s friends received the Holy Spirit. This is the gift that Jesus promised them during his ministry and the gift that inspired them to leave the safety of their small community and venture out into the world to tell people about the Gospel.
Here’s the moment from scripture:
"When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together 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.” Acts 2:1-4
The world had been created beautifully by God, but over time, humanity walked away from God. Time and time again, God tried to call us back, to bring us back into completeness, but nothing ever stuck. Finally, God sent Jesus Christ to get our attention and to teach us the best way to come into full, complete, and whole relationship with God. When Jesus returned to heaven after his resurrection, the Holy Spirit became the ally of those who followed Jesus. The Holy Spirit became the strength and the power that the followers of Jesus needed in order to help renew the world.
Pentecost is most certainly about power and renewal, but the moment when the Holy Spirit filled up Jesus’s followers and created the church, the Body of Christ on earth, is also the moment in which we all became holy dreamers. In an instant, Jesus’s followers knew that their lives would never be the same again. Perhaps they liked the way their lives were, perhaps they liked who they had become when Jesus was living and walking among them. But no matter what they thought they liked, in that moment, everything changed.
For us, I hope Pentecost has the same effect. For the most part, even when times are tough, most of us live lives we like. The lives we have built for ourselves and our families are pretty good. And even if we aren’t as happy and satisfied as we wish we were, our humanity still draws us to what is consistent and predictable. We like knowing what tomorrow, next week, and next year will bring. So when we have an experience like Pentecost, when God’s Holy Spirit breaks through and touches us with fire and power, we can get scared.
Big dreams are something every child knows, but most adults have learned over time to stop dreaming so big. Instead, most adults find that dreams are dangerous because they set us up for failure, and we hate to fail. Dreams can disappoint us when we shoot too far or wish too big, and when we miss our dreams too many times, we can stop dreaming altogether. But Pentecost reminds us that God’s dreams are huge, and we are the ones who are here on earth to make them real.
This summer, as we seek rest and search for renewal, I want you to dream, too. I want you to begin to dream about what you are called to do as a follower of Jesus, and I want you to dream about how you fit into the family of Jesus followers here at Saint Michael. I’m fond of saying “the best is yet to come,” not because I know just what will happen, but because I am a holy dreamer, and I believe that God’s dreams are bigger than anything I can imagine.
So dream big with me. Imagine what we can do together in the Body of Christ we have at Saint Michael, and let’s start reaching higher than we ever thought we could. The Holy Spirit is upon us and pushing us beyond the limits we think we have. And as you dream, never forget that with God, all things are possible.
The Rev. Dr. Christopher D. Girata