Today marks the church’s celebration-remembrance of Pentecost. This isn’t a day privy to only certain portions of the church. It is one to be celebrated by all Christians.
There are a few different angles one could take in remembering the importance of Pentecost. The angle of the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh – male/female, young/old, Jew/Gentile. There is the aspect of the empowering of God’s people for mission that the rule and grace of Christ be made known to all peoples. Then there’s the common notion that the church began on that great day of Pentecost.
But did the church begin on that remarkable day long ago?
Well, 2021 is off to a fabulous start. I say that with sarcasm, of course.
There is little doubt that we are in a predicament, one that’s been building not just in 2020, nor over the past four years. It’s been unfolding for decades, if not centuries. I’m not sure it’s going to stop. As the old adage goes, “Things may get worse before they get better.”
There are a few things I believe the American (even global) church must engage in to change the trajectory that it’s on. Take them or leave them. But I am convinced they are worth taking up.
The church new year launched two days ago as we entered the season of Advent. Many may ask why the church calendar? It sounds old, boring, and out-dated at best, or created to send us to our spiritual graves at worst.
At least those would have been my thoughts some years ago. But over the past decade I have been drawn to what we call the liturgical calendar.
One of the wise practices I believe churches (in general, but not all) are taking up in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic is honoring the stay-at-home mandates issued by city mayors, state governors, and even the federal government. I do not believe this is an infringement upon our first amendment rights, nor is it persecution. Persecution would be if the stay-at-home mandate was issued only for Christians (or any religious group, for that matter). Rather, this is something being issued to as much of society as possible, all to protect from the spread of the virus and to help flatten the curve, as we await possible vaccine options to be uncovered. In a sense, we could say there is an aspect of loving our neighbors as ourselves through this practice of staying at home.
With that, churches have typically moved their services to online streaming on Sundays. Or, as in the case of my own church and others, we are recording the service and posting the videos, all in an effort to help ease technical difficulties.
Through all the streaming and videos of church services, what is interesting to note is the rise in church “attendance” over these past weeks. I put the word attendance in quotes because it is somewhat challenging to track this in the time of the Coronavirus, mainly because all one has to do is watch the video for a few minutes and he or she can be tracked as an attendee. Still, the numbers are saying attendance is up quite a bit. Continue reading →
I was first introduced to Chris Smith’s work back in 2013 when he released his little ebook, The Virtue of Dialogue. I immediately held an appreciation for his work and perspective of the Christian life.