Over two decades of parish ministry has taught me that each church has a rhythm. Annually, we get excited about things at different times of the year. Energy rises and falls. Participation increases and recedes. Like the waves that lap upon the shoreline, there is a pattern that is observable. Receiving this reality as a gift has been a challenge at times. Sometimes you need to act 'out of season' or against the natural pulse. More often than not, however, if you can time efforts with the natural flow, you will find that there is a double blessing.
In Minnesota, with its long winters, and amazing summers, the pattern of ministry is influenced by the weather. When it gets nice outside, folks will head to the lakes. By Memorial Day weekend, the pattern is fully established. Family cabins, camps, and state parks all have a gravitational pull that is both understandable and undeniable. Time is our most precious gift and time spent with family is even more valuable. The weekend exodus has already begun. In just two weeks, our mid-week outdoor worship will offer an extra opportunity for those who are gone on Sundays.
Pentecost is a movable festival. Fifty days after Easter, we deck the sanctuary in red and celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit to energize the church's mission. Often this special celebration coincides with the MN 'lake-exodus' phenomenon. As a result, we don't usually seem to have the people-power to celebrate 'up big.'
Things are different this year. With an early Easter (April 1), we get an early Pentecost before Memorial Day. Most families are still in town. Yay! We will be leaning into the opportunity and having children play a larger role than usual in leading worship. The Sunday School children will be singing three songs as part of our liturgy. What is more, all kids present will be helping us to dramatize the reading of the Pentecost story. This is in addition to the usual participation of the little ones during the procession, recession, and noisy offering.
It is a tradition to wear red on Pentecost. Red is the color connected with the Holy Spirit. Later in the day, our ninth graders who completed their Confirmation studies will be wearing red stoles that they made for their Affirmation of Baptism worship (1:00 p.m.) What joy to celebrate this important time in the life of our teens!
So if you are in town, come to our Pentecost worship (9:30 a.m.) or Confirmation worship (1:00 p.m.). Wear red and join in a joyful celebration of what the ways that the Spirit continues to move at St. James. God's Spirit is active and leading us in new ways to open our hearts and doors to share God's love with others. I look forward to seeing you in worship.