As I write we are coming up to the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The Easter eggs have long since been eaten and I find myself confused by the weekly readings so far, as the Gospel holds us on Easter Day with frightened disciples in their own lockdown, but Acts has the apostles out and about. For them, Pentecost has already happened, while we wait for the official date on the calendar.
Having endured lockdowns this last year we are now trying to get used to freedom, being able to have days out, and some of us are especially looking forward to seeing family again, to hugs and maybe holidays (based on dates the Government set for us, of course). Some congregations are talking about going back to church, while some members want to wait a while longer.
Some say, ‘but what if …’ Someone once told me we cannot live our lives thinking ‘what if …’.
As Christians, especially as preachers and like gardeners, we are always looking ahead, whether to the lectionary for next week, or planting seeds for the next season. So what will help us to grow and flourish in the next season of our lives? Do we need Pentecost to urge us onward? But we have no need to wait for the official date in the calendar, for Pentecost has already happened for us too. The Spirit of God is always with us.
Edmund Banyard writes*:
What we celebrate at Easter is not the rhythms of nature,
new life springing up after winter sleep.
We are celebrating upheaval and unpredictability;
God acting in such a way
that no one knows what may happen next.
We are celebrating not reform but revolution
and it isn’t finished yet!
*From ‘Reaching for the Infinite’ by Edmund Banyard