NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR JUNE 8, 2014
This Sunday is a curious mixture of two celebrations for our church and our community. As a Christian congregation, this is Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the birth of the Christian Church. However, as an “Open and Affirming Congregation” within the United Church of Christ, espousing an extravagant welcome that says “no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey your are welcome here;” we join our community here in Central Alabama this Sunday in the celebration of “PrideFest,” (a festival culminating the celebration of Pride week.)
The theme for this year’s Pride celebrations are “Pride Without Prejudice.” So for us at Covenant, the theme this Sunday is “Pentecost: Pride Without Prejudice” celebrating two notable births. First, “Pentecost” celebrates the birth of the Christian Church. Second, “PrideFest” celebrates the birth of the struggle for equality for our “LGBT” community. Both events speaks of a need for “Pride Without Prejudice.”
The Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost happened with a very diverse group of people; but all of them experienced it and felt the call to a wonderful ministry of reaching out to others. “Pridefest” is a celebration of a very diverse group of people as an effort of reaching out to others as well. Pentecost resulted in a Pride in the disciples and these new Christians that they had never had or exhibited before. The purpose of Pride celebrations is to get LBGT people to discover a pride that does the same for them in their lives. I believe that’s why there’s a unique connection of these two celebrations of “Pentecost” and “Pridefest” for this Sunday. It reminds us that Covenant MUST be part of helping people learn to have “Pride Without Prejudice.” For the people of faith that means starting with a renewed “Pentecost” experience.
A renewed Pentecost experience helps us to realize that the Holy Spirit speaks through us as broken people to a broken world, using language and actions every broken heart can hear and understand. We will join in celebrating “Pentecost: Pride Without Prejudice” this Sunday because:
We know what it is like to be broken by hatred, so we can speak of the healing power that comes from Christ sacrifice to show God’s unconditional love.
We know what it is like to be broken by despair, so we can speak of the healing hope of Christ’s forgiveness.
We know what it is like to be broken by doubt, so we can speak of the healing faith in Christ’s promises.
We know what it is like to be broken by illness, so we can speak of the healing wholeness of Christ’s resurrection to show God’s acceptance.
However, before heading out to “PrideFest, this Pentecost Sunday, join us at Covenant for worship. I will be preaching a sermon called “Pentecost: Pride Without Prejudice” based on the scripture text of “Acts 2:1-21.