Pride Full Spirit

posted Jun 3, 2022, 1:17 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


This Sunday is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church Universal and the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit! And it’s the Asbury Park Pride Parade — a joyful time in which our church shares with our community and beyond that God’s love and grace is for ALL people, no matter whom you love.


The Holy Spirit shows up as our Advocate and Comforter, a fierce protector, and is often imaged as breath, wind, fire, and a dove. But she’s not just a gentle dove, but in Celtic tradition, is also imaged as a goose. You know, those creatures that honk loudly and tend to be rather pesky and insistent.


One of my favorite quotes about the Holy Spirit is from activist Sister Simone Campbell. She says, “The Holy Spirit is alive and well and making mischief.” If you have been anywhere near social media or the news, you probably are thinking like I am — Now more than ever we need the holy mischief of the Spirit; we need the fire of the Spirit; we need Jesus to breathe on us and give us some holy power. We need to hear him say peace be with you, and upon hearing it, believe that peace really will be with us.


Little nudges, quiet moments, loud moments, silent times and cacophonous times all have the potential to be the work of the Spirit. As preaching professor Fred Craddock states,  “ . . . the Holy Spirit has moved the church into areas in which it otherwise would not have gone and into activities in which it otherwise would not have engaged. Power disturbs, and yet it is not usually until afterward in reflection that we relate disturbances to the Holy Spirit.” Perhaps we just need to stop, listen and look for the holy breath and fire of God who shows up in the ordinary, and suddenly is making a disturbance.


Come, let us gather for worship this Sunday in person or on Facebook live at 9:30 AM — EARLIER TIME so we can get down to Asbury Park in time for the parade. I am preaching from Acts 2.1-21 and my sermon title is This is Just the Beginning. Sarah Gordon is singing the Prelude “Count on Me,” some of our kids will bring us a word in song “Here I Am to Worship,” and The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will sing the anthem “Believer’s Prayer.”


If you are marching on Sunday, please wear your MRC Fabulous Church of Love t-shirt (and even if you’re not marching), along with some red accessories. Or wear red to celebrate the Holy Spirit. For the parade, please bring sunscreen, a hat, water, and wear comfortable shoes. I will buy Jersey Mike’s sandwiches to have for lunch, and will also have some extra bottled water. If you are unable to walk the 1.25 miles of the parade route, we will have my van available for you to ride in. All are welcome to march -- friends, family, neighbors.


Believe this, beloved of God: The Holy Spirit will never be held back by anything or anyone, despite our best efforts to the contrary. So, on this Pentecost and Pride Sunday, let us listen and look for the breath and fire of the Spirit who shows up in the ordinary, and suddenly is making a holy disturbance and transforming people’s lives, and dare I say, the world. Thanks be to God!


Blessings of fire, wind, breath, and certainly some Holy mischief,


Pastor Trish

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