May 28, 2023: Gifts of the Spirit


Pentecost Sunday

Gifts of the Spirit

“On the day of Pentecost, they were all together in one place… Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other languages.”

Whether you are joining this church service from the comfort of a pew or virtually on your sofa, you have made a decision to be in spiritual community, on a day when we celebrate the Spirit’s creativity. Thank you for your presence and gifts.

The congregation I serve is like most churches: smaller than it was pre-pandemic. Gathering is now a deliberate decision, rather than a routine. When we resumed in-person worship, several people remarked, “I forgot how much I missed this.” What have you noticed in your congregation? And who is missing?

Social isolation is serious, contributing to health crises, poverty, and violence. During the pandemic, we all tasted social isolation. How do you feel about that? What did you learn?

The Spirit transcends language and culture; ministry isn’t just for those “in the room.” On Pentecost we remember the gathering of diverse people, celebrating the Spirit’s gifts to do meaningful, contextual ministry—a reminder that Christ’s church was purpose-built to take on different forms, in many places, in new eras.

We know that the church, in its current form, struggles to build spiritual community, for a variety of reasons. It’s enabled us to bicker in “culture wars,” to neglect the vulnerable, and to value being “right” over being compassionate. These are not gifts of the Spirit.

We also know that the church has a continuing purpose, a continuing vocation: to build community where there is isolation and division. Will this be our missionary impulse in this new era? Where do you sense the Spirit calling your church? What gifts is the Spirit endowing you with today?

May we be loving neighbors, attentive listeners, and always open to the Spirit’s leading.

James Lavoy, pastor, Rio Terrace Moravian Church, Edmonton, Alberta