Acts 2.1: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”
Lately, I’ve been captivated by the story of Rachel Held Evans spiritual journey. Rachel is a writer who grew up in a conservative, evangelical church. Although she accepted Christ, she had doubts and questions about some of the beliefs of the church she was a part of. Eventually, she stopped going to church. After a time, she was drawn back to church (but not to the same tradition from which she had come). What brought her back to church? This is what she says in a recent interview: “Norah Gallagher once said, “on those days when I have thought of giving up on church entirely, I have tried to figure out what I would do about Communion.” The same is true for me. It was the sacraments that brought me back to church. The sacraments of baptism and communion, confession and anointing reminded me that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people. When I’d all but given up on church, the sacraments reminded me that, try as I might, I can’t be a Christian on my own. I need a community. I need the Church.”
Being together has never been more crucial. In our world full of individuals staring at 3-10 inch screens almost constantly, being together has become essential. When I say being together, I mean REALLY being together, being present, being open, being vulnerable with each other as Christian brothers and sisters.
The early church needed this as well. In the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, they needed each other. It was in this context that the Holy Spirit came in a mighty way at Pentecost. They did not receive a supernatural gift for their individual entertainment. They received the gift of the Spirit in community, for the benefit of the community.
How might we gather and really be present with each other, to the sacraments, to open ourselves to the gift of God?