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Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking:

May 28 Worship Service Video

 

Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00

 

 

  • Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship after worship.

 

  • Tickets for the 100th Anniversary Spaghetti Dinner and Dance on Friday, June 16 are on sale and available on Sunday and at the church office through the week.

 

  • The 2023 edition of the Urban Retreats Garden Tours is all set for Saturday, June 24. This year’s event will be hosted by the United Church in Meadowood and feature gardens in South St. Vital. All proceeds support 1JustCity and West End Community Ministry. For more information please visit: https://www.1justcity.ca/garden-tour

 

 

  • Did you know you can support this ministry by e-transfer, automatic withdrawal (PAR), and gifted securities, in addition to weekly or monthly cheques? For Offering Information please visit: https://charleswoodunited.org/support/  Thank you for your generous support.

 

 

Dear Friends

Welcome to worship for Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Pentecostalism is a particular thing with a particular history. It starts at a particular place and time the way John Wesley began Methodism in 1738 at Aldersgate or Martin Luther began the Reformation began in 1517 at Wittenberg. Pentecostalism began on April 14, 1906 at 213 Azusa St. in Los Angeles, California. Here a preacher named William Seymour opened a church and began to preach that baptism in the Holy Spirit was accompanied by the gift of speaking in tongues. It was a new spiritual movement that spread quickly among the Latino and Black neighbourhoods of L.A. though it was later embraced by white Christians. One way to describe this phenomenon is to say that worship was constructed with the aim of creating an ecstatic experience in the worshipper. While I would contend that it is no more authentic than many other forms of worship, it is nonetheless real and edifying for those who experience it. Pentecostalism is not inherently conservative but is often presented as such.

Here’s the thing: Pentecostalism does not have a particular claim or ownership to Pentecost. For one thing, Pentecost was testified to in scripture for 19 centuries before Pentecostalism was born. For another, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is not limited to one type of experience or explanation. The truth is that the Holy Spirit is experienced in a nearly infinite number of ways. Let me explain.

Pentecost is called Pentecost because there was a Jewish festival in 1st century Judea that fell 50 days after Passover. Pente literally means “five” as in pentagon or pentagram. The Bible doesn’t tell us that a mysterious, spiritually significant event took place and that those who were present decided to call it ‘pentecost’ as though that was another word for ‘spirit’. Pentecost was the name of the day and that was when something happened.

But what happened? I don’t mean to take the mystery out of it but Luke (the author of Acts) says the followers of Jesus, who were yet unsure what to make of everything they had been through, were together in one place. They then experienced a presence that was more than they had experienced before. They said it was like wind. They said it was like fire. But the most amazing thing of all was that they said it was unspeakably unifying. Precisely because it was the Jewish festival of Pentecost, a pilgrimage festival, the city was filled with people from all over the Mediterranean world. The testimony of scripture is that each heard in their own language. Not gibberish and incoherent. Their own language as an unprecedented expression of unity in diversity.

What actually happened on the Day of Pentecost is mysterious. How does one describe an inner transformation with words? But what the early church took as the meaning of that experience is not a mystery at all. The love of God that a few had known in the person of Jesus was now available to be felt for all people for all time. God’s presence. Warm like fire. Free like wind.

Acts 2 says that after the events of the Day of Pentecost transpired, “Some were amazed and some were confused.” May it always be so.

 

Grace and peace,

Michael

 

 

 

  • The reading for this week’s service can be found here: Acts 2:1-13

 

  • For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work