Expect to Be Surprised
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). It is a prayerful hope of mine that when Pentecost arrives, all of us who call ourselves St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church would be together in one place – most likely in the sanctuary of the building located at 445 Old Post Road in Edison, just off Route 1.
If God answered that prayer and somehow all of us – about 400 people – gathered to worship at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 19 (The Day of Pentecost), things would be crazy around here. It would look and feel as if our place had been hit by a violent rushing wind and it would sound like it too. Noise. Surprise. Chaos. Shock. The Holy Spirit can do that to us. I should be careful what I pray. We’re not prepared for that kind of revitalization.
Maybe that’s the point, though. We’re never going to be prepared for what God is doing in the world. We are told to wait, to watch, to read scripture and to pray, but the regular patterns that develop as we strive to live faithfully and patiently God can change with a one big gust of God’s Spirit. So, God has us live in hope and expectation that God will do a “new thing” – raise the dead, bring peace and wholeness, end suffering, create a new heaven and a new earth. We cannot really be prepared, but we expect to be surprised.
So, if all 400 of you should happen show up intent on worshipping the God who invites you into a new kind of life by entering into Jesus’ death and resurrection, I will be surprised, but I will be expecting you. More than that, I will be hopefully aware that a crazy day of worship like that would be just the start of the new thing God is doing in this part of Edison. Watch out Edison, Metuchen, Highland Park! God is on the move and the people who call themselves St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and meet in a building located at 445 Old Post Road are out to change, restore and redeem this place as a sign of faith that Christ has died and Christ is risen and as a sign of hope that Christ is coming again soon.
As you look around your house and neighborhood, what’s your prayer? Imagine Jesus is sitting with you and asking you, what do you think we could do to change this neighborhood for good? How would you answer? I would love to hear and join you in that prayer. Come and share it with me and others from this community at one of the Open House Conversations (May 14, May 21 and May 28, at 7 p.m.). I look forward to listening to you on one of those evenings.
You know my prayer already. See you in worship this weekend.
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