Monday, June 12, 2017

Gathered to Go Forth

THE CONGREGATION HAS ASSEMBLED. At Westminster Abbey the sacred space is still, save the airy notes of the pipe organ. The soaring arches, accented by glorious stained glass windows, draws the worshipper heavenward. The vastness of this holy hall all but swallowed up those gathered for Evensong.

Pentecost Sunday. People from many nations, tribes and tongues are present to hear the gospel of hope proclaimed. Through song and sacred Scripture, through banners and proclamation, the message is clear; because Jesus is the hope of the nations we are gathered to go forth. It is a message that echoed that one given on Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ two thousand years ago.

Now, as then, those gathered needed hope. In London, just down the street from Westminster Abbey, yet another terrorist attack had traumatized the people. We sought solace amidst the the strong walls of this historic place of worship.

While worshipping I realized that many who found themselves in this sacred place had no idea of what was taking place around them through the liturgy of this ancient church. To them, it was some other worldly pageant put on for those seeking to take in the sights of London. Like those gathered to the words of the Apostle Peter on that Pentecost centuries ago they missed the deeper reality of the message proclaimed; not the unintelligible words of drunken men, but the redemptive message of new spirit-filled saints.

At the conclusion of the afternoon’s service the vicar sent us forth with the challenge to be the church bringing the message of hope to a hopeless world. I could only pray that some heard with the ears of their heart the proclamation and promise of the Hope of the world.

May we answer the call and be the church sent forth.

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