Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference and Editor of the Starting With Scripture Devotional.
Scripture: Acts 2:1-4 (NRSV)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Reflection: Still Waiting
A year ago, Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton wrote the devotional leading up to Pentecost Sunday. In her reflection, she wrote about life in the early months of the Covdi-19 pandemic. She described the waiting, the isolation, the uncertainty. While reading the devotion, I was struck by the timeliness of the piece; it has aged painfully well after an entire year.
Despite the progress made against the disease in the past year, I feel like many of us are still waiting. Waiting for second doses of vaccines and wider distribution of them in general; waiting for word from authorities on what will open fully, and whether it is safe to go back to certain places; waiting to hear whether offices will re-open; if a job will restart; if we'll ever be able to recognize anyone ever again in public; waiting for the day when we can get rid of the masks!
Yet, Rev. Patton suggested an alternative to waiting: seizing the moment.
She writes, "What if this is our Pentecost moment, an opportunity to grab that Holy-Spirit-wind by the coat tails and let it lead us into a future that is radically different from our past? A future more just, more gentle, more fiercely loving, more anti-racist and pro-creation, more interconnected… more whole?"
One year later, I wonder: have we grabbed the opportunity?
Much has happened in the 12 months since her devotion. The Southern New England Conference elected the first executive conference minister who is a person of color and a member of the LGBTQ community. The nation rejected a second term for a president determined to promote white supremacy, vilify immigrants, and reject science, and elected the first female Vice-President. And a court of law convicted a police officer for the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man stopped for allegedly passing a counterfeit bill. These few moments in history are certainly steps in the right direction. But when Rev. Patton wrote those words, the nation had just surpassed 100,000 Covid deaths. This past week, we passed 582,000 according to the CDC, deaths that could have been prevented if we had come together as a nation. In 2020, the Gun Violence Archive recorded 610 mass shootings, almost 200 more than the previous year. This years, there have been 211 mass shootings so far. We have even seen shootings committed by people who were simply told to wear a mask in a public place during a pandemic. And despite the rare conviction in the Floyd case, there have been 77 black men or women killed by police in 2021 so far, nearly double the number of white men or women killed in the same time period (source: mappingpoliceviolence.org).
More gentle? More fiercely loving? Hmmm.
What's holding us back? Why are we still waiting?
Holy Creator, let us feel the wind and the flames of the Spirit and give us the ability to speak to those who need to hear the message of gentleness, of fierce love. May we stop waiting.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For those grieving for more than 582,000 dead due to the Covid-19 disease
- For the victims and their families of the 211 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
- For the people impacted by the Israel/Palestine conflict as violence escalates in the region
- For the people of India where the coronavirus had caused problems with health care facilities and mortuaries
- For the family and friends of Rev. Kenneth D. Fuller, former pastor in Connecticut and Massachusetts, who died on Feb. 23
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the coming celebration of Pentecost
- For the many churches who are celebrating Confirmations across our conference
This Week in History:
May 17, 2004 (17 years ago) The first same-sex marriage is performed in Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts. Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey became the first legally married same-sex partners in the U.S. Same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states in June, 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couple and recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions (Obergefell V. Hodges).
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...