“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” -Acts 2:17-18
One year ago, on the Day of Pentecost, we made the symbolic pilgrimage up Broad Street to the new Christian home God had created for us: Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Some days it still feels new. On others it feels like we’ve been here together for far longer than one year. Week after week, we’ve gathered to worship Jesus as a community of faithful people in a community created by God’s own hand. One year of hard work, worship, fellowship and discipleship at Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church….and after all the legal documents were signed, properties sold, and hard work to arrive to this destination, there remains that nagging feeling that we’re waiting on “what’s next?”
Sitting and waiting on the next thing is nothing new to Jesus’ disciples. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples asking "what's next?" too. Jesus assured them that he would send them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, but as the days and weeks wear on after the events of the Resurrection, there’s a nagging sense that those assurances might never happen. As they were gathered together in one place, Scripture tells us they did receive the Holy Spirit on that Day of Pentecost and empowered by it the early disciples set the world on fire with Jesus’ message of love. It is that same Holy Flame which burns inside disciples of Jesus to this day, giving rise to our visions and dreams of what God is calling us to do and be for the sake of the Gospel.
So, what’s next? We may not know for certain where God is taking us next, but there is no doubt God is up to something at Star of Bethlehem and in our neighborhood. Need some evidence? After learning that sixty percent of children in West Bethlehem are on free or reduced lunch, Star of Bethlehem worked alongside our ministry partners at Westside Moravian and Bethany UCC to see what our neighbors needed and how we could help. We learned there are no locations for Bethlehem Area School District’s Summer Lunch Program in West Bethlehem. This summer, in partnership with Bethany UCC and Westside Moravian, we will distribute bagged lunches Monday through Friday from 12-1pm at Bethany UCC. I know we will be blessed in serving and growing in our relationships with God and our neighbors. I believe it will also be there, doing the work God calls us to, that we will be stirred by our Advocate, who will nudge us and place visions and dreams in our hearts slowly revealing the God's answer to our own nagging questions.
God is on the loose. God is placing dreams and visions in our hearts. May the Holy Fire of Pentecost burn brightly within each of you and our Christian community now and always.
In Christ Jesus, Pastor Jenny