For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
The Season of Pentecost has begun. According to the Book of Acts, the disciples had gathered again in the upper room. Jesus had ascended in front of them all, leaving them astonished and confused. They “were constantly devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). As usual, Peter took charge, and the disciples elected Matthias to replace Judas. Like us, sheltering from the pandemic, they were isolated, afraid, and bewildered about where to go from there. They took care of the administrative things. They prayed until they were all in one accord.
Then, on the Day of Pentecost, the heavens opened and tongues as of fire appeared on their heads, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And nothing was ever the same again. They burst out of the upper room and began to preach, drawing a crowd in Jerusalem. The Book of Acts, and really the rest of the New Testament, tells all the things they were empowered to do.
This year has been a Pentecost like no other in my life. We have been quarantined from each other, prevented from worshiping together, and limited in so many ways. Now, almost without warning, restrictions are being removed. Are we really able to resume the lives that have been on hold for over a year? Is this the Pentecost to the pandemic?
I was reminded of this passage from Ecclesiastes. We have been through a time when it was right to stay apart and wear masks. Even more it was a time to mourn all those lost to a heartless virus. But now, we are entering a new season of Pentecost. I pray we will be wise stewards of our freedom and conscientious in our choices.
But I also hope this will be a time to laugh, dance, and embrace; a time to reach out to share the Spirit of God as we have been unable to do; a time to mend, build up, and speak out the Good News!
God of tempest, God of whirlwind,
as on Pentecost descend!
Drive us out from sheltered comfort;
past these walls your people send!
Sweep us into costly service,
there with Christ to bear the cross,
there with Christ to bear the cross!