Each year Pentecost Sunday marks the beginning of “the time of the church” in our liturgical tradition. It is the story of Pentecost that gives focus and frame to the lives of Jesus’ disciples of every age. There’s no telling to whom they will be sent, the ways in which they will bear witness to the good news of Jesus, or how they will be empowered, equipped, and surprised as they follow where Jesus leads, the Spirit’s presence and power will be with them.
When the Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy,” as Martin Luther says, Jesus’ disciples are crucified and raised, shaped and shaken for relationship with the wider world in ways that are authentic and vulnerable. Jesus’ disciples embody what Pope Francis describes as a community that is “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security”.
This time of the church is a time in which we will be following Luke’s story of Jesus in which we come face-to-face with brokenness, hurt and economic disparity. As the story is told, Jesus is at the margins of society so that people hidden are seen and people silenced are heard. We also go to the margins with Jesus, to see and listen, to encounter and understand, to pay attention to the stories of others. In these encounters, our own understanding of God’s love, healing, and mercy are broadened and challenged.