What are you doing this Sunday?

Episcopal/Anglican users of Facebook may have noticed an event invitation for this upcoming Sunday: “Crash Your Local Episcopal Church: Pentecost.”

The event description reads:

The Holy Spirit is not a magical force we can conjure. We can’t keep it concentrated in a building. We can’t possibly limit its access to those who come to church or to those who are baptized. The Holy Spirit is already out there, wherever you go, everywhere in the world. Any time we say, “Come, Holy Spirit,” it’s ironic, because we’re beckoning Someone who cannot be beckoned, and who is always with us.

But if we didn’t beckon, would we notice? How often does a fish say, “Hey, I’m swimming in water!”? How often does a flame shout, “Aaaah! I’m on fire!”? How often do we stop whatever we’re doing, take a long, deep breath, and appreciate what it means to be alive?

If we did that all the time, people might well think we’d been drinking, even at nine in the morning. When people live life joyfully, wallowing in the Holy Spirit, amazing things start to happen. People reach out to others to give them what they need. The simplest actions can take on deep meaning and can break down barriers of language and social standing. The result is Resurrection on both a small and large scale.

Come join the movement this Sunday. Bring a friend, or four, or four thousand! Raise the roof! In the immortal words of gospel pop star Kirk Franklin, “We’re havin’ us a Holy Ghost party up in he-ah!”

Whether you’re Episcopalian or not, I think the invitation is a fine reminder of why we Christians (broadly speaking) gather from week to week. We come together to celebrate the power of the “Resurrection on both a small and large scale.” Amidst the challenges that we face in our separate churches — (un-)welcome changes in liturgy, threats to communion, attempts at building a more just church — we all rely on the power of God working Christ’s resurrection for us and in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, to renew the whole earth.

Of course, the FB invitation identifying the feast as a “Sports – Pep Rally” seems a bit off: pep rally I understand (and rather like) — but, sports? I suppose that if Paul could use athletic metaphors (see 1 Cor 9:24; 2 Tim 4:7), perhaps so can we.

Pentecost

So. . . what are you doing this Sunday? How are you celebrating the “Holy Ghost party?”

6 comments

  1. Our parish is a singing parish and we sing the Mass, both the parochial vicar and I are able to sing all the parts of the Mass at all of our Sunday Masses, i.e. “Sign of the Cross, greeting, absolution, opening collect, preface dialogue, preface, intro to the Our Father, the Our Father, with its doxology, as well as the post communion prayer and solemn blessing and dismissal. We always sing the official communion antiphon, but I can’t convince our music director to sing the official introit and preparation antiphon because it’s too much work. But the days are coming! We sing congregational processional metrical hymn at the beginning and end as well as refrains and hymns during the communion procession. Pentecost Sunday the choir director will include trumpet, tympani and violin in addition to the pipe organ. We’ll be using the Mass of Creation except for the Gloria which will the “Bells” and Took’s Holy Trinity Agnus Dei. And at our 9:30 and 12:10 Masses, the Russian ensemble LYRA will sing preludes and offertory and communion motets. They will also provide a Pentecost concert at 7:00 PM Pentecost Sunday. Our decorating committee will have the church arrayed in red fabrics and seasonal red flowers all over the place, but not blocking any liturgical furnishings, but framing them so to speak. And of course I will give my normal Holy Ghost on Fire Homily, but nothing new there, that’s normal from Sunday to Sunday, no brag, just fact, in all humility! 🙂

  2. I’ll be sleeping in. My choir is singing Saturday night, as we’re doing the Pentecost Vigil, with the extra readings, to wrap up the year.

  3. 3 Masses Saturday at the county jail where I will confirm several inmates and then 2 Masses Sunday, plus concelebrating the principal Mass where we will confirm baptized Catholics. Our bishop grants delegation to parishes to confirm adult Catholics on Pentecost. We had intended to have the extended Pentecost Vigil on Saturday evening but had to change plans. Next year hopefully…

  4. Perhaps more emphasis on the Holy Spirit is key to both Church and liturgical renewal? Like some on this blog, I find the suppression of the Pentecost octave disturbing.

    Congar spent some time in his large trilogy on the Holy Spirit dealing with the charge that the West had substituted the Pope, Mary or the Eucharist for the Holy Spirit. The archconservative Cardinal Ottaviani at Vatican II said that the Church did not need the Holy Spirit because it had the hierarchy. The Orthodox said that their treatise on the Church would have been on the Holy Spirit. Living tradition with the Holy Spirit seems more attractive than dead traditons without.

    Congar at one place develops an intriguing model from the Church Fathers: “the incarnate Word reveals the invisible Father and the Spirit reveals the Word, Christ. Going further one can say that the saints reveal the Spirit.. God as gift, love, communication and communion.” Elsewhere, Congar sees each life of a saint as a commentary on scripture, much as Rahner sees each saint as showing us another model for being Christ-like.

    The Byzantine pattern concluding the Pentecost octave with the feast of All Saints is similar to Congar’s thinking. Sundays after Pentecost (i.e. in the time of the saints) seems much better than living in Ordinary Time. Maybe liberals too often see the Holy Spirit in the ordinary world just as traditionalists too often see the Holy Spirit in the hierarchy?

  5. Lex orandi, lex credendi. If Pentecost at the typical parish is the same as a Sunday in Ordinary Time, but in red with an extra candle, then then of course its meaning among the people is diminished. Which reminds me to bring up my annual reminder: The Sequence is NOT optional on Easter Sunday or Pentecost. The revised Missal is supposed to restore the Vigil for Pentecost, so hopefully that will help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *