This Sunday eight Lutheran churches in the Minneapolis area are getting together downtown at Central. Because it's Pentecost. But don't be fooled. We're also getting together because it's Memorial Day weekend and we need each other if we're going to bring that wind and fire to life for the two thousandth time on a cabin weekend!
I'll admit it. We're not very good at getting together in Minneapolis. There's an ELCA church on every corner, but we still keep to ourselves and compete and reinvent the wheel blocks from each other. It's disgusting and I'm totally part of it. So this Sunday I'm excited to break out of that style. We're celebrating Pentecost together in one place. There will be wind rushing and chimes dancing and kids speaking different languages and the Spirit Garage band playing on the plaza. There will be sparklers and tiki torches and violins and a LOT of people.
Zion was asked to participate in this event and I couldn't say no. Zion loves partnering. We have a PhD in teaming up and trying new things. So yes. I'm there. But since many of my members won't be able to get downtown or won't remember to go downtown, I couldn't bear to lock up the church and leave a note. So my folks have a choice - come to Zion at 10am (a retired pastor is filling in) or come to Central at 10am. It's Pentecost either way.
This afternoon I met with three other preachers for the service at Central. We all have three minutes to reflect on a particular portion of the Acts 2 text. Rick Nelson will begin with the Gathering in verses 1 and 2. Then I address the unity and uniqueness of the Holy Spirit's work through language. Then Ben Cieslik will wonder about how we're fed and what for. And then Brandon Porter will bring it home with spoken word, moving out from the pulpit and sending us into the world.
Fancy. Festive. But that's not all. After all this talk about "being the church" together, we'll leave the sanctuary to load trucks for CES. We'll give loaves of bread to those who need them. We'll bombard downtown Minneapolis with the love of Jesus Christ. We'll scatter and blow all over the city marked by our time together and confident that there is more to come. More to do. More to be. More to give. More to receive.
I'm excited. I will be especially surprised by what happens this Sunday. I pit out most Sundays because I love my call and have a ridiculous amount of fun with worship...and because we wear silly garb that doesn't breathe in spring or the winds of Pentecost. This is how Scandinavian pastors express their ecstatic faith - with wet underarms during coffee hour.
Sometimes I come home from church and I look like I've worked out. I'm chatty and revitalized. My skin is "glistening". I'm craving carbs. This is when my darling husband interrupts my monologue that is using too many words of Greek or Latin origin to be taken seriously to say, "Honey, I love you. Do you know that you're a huge dork?" Yes. I do. I so do.
This Sunday I will pit out because I will be overwhelmed by the community gathered - so many different churches and gifts and lives gathered as one...but still many. We are together, but only for an hour before we are blown in unique directions for specific work. Work that excites and challenges and changes us. Work that gives us new life and roots us in something much bigger than ourselves. And that's a good sweat.
When mountains of food are handed out and loaded up, Matt and Jasper and I will drive home. And I'll start blabbing about my dreams for God's church and how beautiful the morning was and how powerful the Spirit still is and -
"Honey, I love you," he'll start. And I'll realize how loudly I'm talking while Jasper is falling asleep in the backseat. "I know you do. Thank you for that." I'll put my hand on his leg and remember why I married him. And then he'll smile a smile that means I can keep preaching. And while I know he'd listen if I went on all day, I'll take a deep breath and roll the windows down. The wind will rush in and that will cover us all with something new.