“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…[and]were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1,4).
This verse from the book of Acts introduces the account of that first Pentecost, the day on which the Holy Spirit came to the disciples. On Pentecost Sunday last year, these words were heard during days of disappointment and uncertainty for us, as our congregations were not gathered together in one place in our church buildings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has now been more than fourteen months since pandemic restrictions turned our lives upside down; we have lived with lament, grief, turmoil, and loss, while yearning for more normalcy in our relationships, congregations, and communities. Our experiences have been reminiscent of Ezekiel’s account of the valley of dry bones—with sickness, death, and unrest dominating our lives instead of hope and life. Nevertheless, God’s words of promise proclaimed to those dead, dry bones, and to us, is: “…I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:5).
During these pandemic times, we’ve adapted to the constraints on our lives and walked in love with those in need; these are signs of the flesh and blood and new life God’s Spirit puts onto the dry bones of our existence even in the face of a pandemic. And now with the increased availability of vaccines and treatment possibilities, our personal and congregational life has begun to open up, another sign of God putting life into our dry bones. Some of our congregations are in planning stages for in-person worship; others have been meeting in-person outdoors and through digital means; still others have begun to meet indoors while taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus among the vulnerable and yet-to-be vaccinated. Above all, throughout all the challenges of life, let us remember that God is the One who gives life and hope to our dry bones and sustains our lives; at the same time, that same Holy Spirit calls us and empowers us to proclaim new life and hope to our broken and hurting world through the victory we share in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This Pentecost Sunday, God’s Holy Spirit reminds us of the life and hope we have in the living Christ. That same Holy Spirit is given to us and moves among us; it gives us life and breath to live each new day and make a difference in the world in Christ’s name. May this Pentecost Season be for you a time of renewal and new life, and may God’s Holy Spirit be a source of new energy as you answer God’s call to be Christ’s hands and feet and voice in your congregations and communities.
+Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek
Important Note! Please join us for worship on Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Central Time) for a special Service of the Word. The link to access this service is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrwFYPQb0Y
Participants will include pastors from our Slovak Zion Synod congregations. This worship opportunity is being offered in place of the regular congregational worship time as a means of connecting us across time and space as we join together to give praise to our gracious and loving God.