The Lord is Risen Indeed, Alleluia! (With the Holy Spirit’s gifts empower us)
The Great Fifty Days of Easter have ended. We celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church on the Feast of Pentecost.
We all know the story of people flaming and speaking in tongues not their own. Some have referred to Pentecost as the reversal of the Tower of Babel. However one might categorize this event, it has represented God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Comforter, the Advocate of whom Jesus spoke and said would be sent to us after his departure.
My experiences with the Holy Spirit have been both illusive and stealth. I could acknowledge a presence but not pinpoint it exactly. I could feel it literally rush through the place where I was, work some mischief and then rush back out. These were real and have instilled both faith and a bit of fear at times. And sometimes they have evoked a chuckle and a smile.
There is a hymn in the 1982 Hymnal that contains the refrain: “With the spirit’s gifts empower us for the work of ministry.” It is sometimes known as Integrity’s hymn because of the use of “integrity” in the first verse. The point is that this hymn is a prayer to God to give us the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the work of ministry.
As an organization and in some ways as a church, we are being directed back to the work of ministry at the local level. The gifts for which we seek to be empowered, relate to growing the church - something that has always been best achieved at the local level - where it all began.
We recently lost an Integrity member who personified ministry at the local level. Paul Lane was an active Diocesan Organizer for New York as well as the primary coordinator of the New York Pride Parade’s Episcopal Church presence. You can read more about his work on the Walking With Integrity post "Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant". May he rest in peace and rise in glory. He utilized the gifts with which the Spirit empowered him to their fullest. May we all do likewise.
So let us indeed pray that the Spirit will empower us for the work of ministry and roll up our sleeves and move forward. The work is not yet complete. All that has changed is where it continues to need to be done.
We are still seeking people to take over national leadership roles and you can either nominate yourself or someone else. The deadline for nominations is May 25, 2018. So if you have a nomination, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Garner, President Integrity USA ... The Episcopal Rainbow