Fanning the Flame
Fanning the Flame
Google "Pentecost," and one of the first definitions you'll see will be this one: "Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian Church by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Think about that, Friends. The birth of the Christian Church. The power of the Holy Spirit.
For the 50 days leading up to Pentecost this year, this Annual Conference has been experiencing something very much like rebirth, as we have engaged in a season of prayer and reflection through the study, Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God's Mission in the World. That the Holy Spirit has been at work is evident by the soul-searching and insightful dialogue that has taken place through the http://catchfirein50days.net site and at www.Facebook.com/catchfirein50.
It began with an opening challenge:
Good Friday is everything I would expect from this world – darkness overwhelms; violence prevails; injustice dominates; fear rules; hope is lost; the fire of life is extinguished …. Friday, of course, is not the last word. Let’s see what happens on Sunday. Let’s see what happens throughout the 50 days as we join together to rediscover what it means to be a resurrected people and a movement of God’s mission in the world.
Along the way, many profoundly moving introspections have been shared. Among them:
"I have started the study and praying about it. I tend to be more like the other disciple who didn't believe until he saw the linens. I was a nonbeliever until I felt the hand of Jesus during one of my meditations a year ago."
"It's been 14 years since I was baptized on the Easter Sunday. I have had so much happen since then, and my faith has been shaken in so many ways. I have to admit that I'm just picking this book up today and I have some catching up to do. My prayer is for renewal in my faith so I may guide others to Jesus' renewing and awesome love."
"I ask your prayers for more boldness. I had the most wonderful conversation today about spiritual practices with the Hindu parents of one of my daughter's friends as we met in their home during a post-school pick up. Why am I surprised when people express curiosity about spirituality and faith? There are so many great connection points if we will only step through the doors God opens!"
"Time and again, God surprised me with the empty tombs and with the risen Jesus in other people’s testimonies and stories …. now I go to church or conference with this renewed expectation that something great will happen today! Jesus is risen. This Catch Fire in 5o Days will spark a great movement in our Church and in our Conference and in our nation and in our world. And Jesus says, 'It will be as you believe!'"
Yes, we do have a renewed expectation as we go to Annual Conference Session this year. What will we make of, and do with, this fire that has been kindled in us? Will we be bold enough to fan the flame?
It will be as we believe.