A message on the occasion of going public with Urban Sanctuary San Jose, a new collaboration of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ in downtown San Jose, CA.
Sunday May 20th, 2018
What a beautiful thing to be there together today for this special celebration! I am so in awe of this past season and this current moment that I fear I won’t make it far without tears of joy spilling out.
Whether this is your first time here or this is your spiritual home, you are a part of something beautiful today, you are living Pentecost with us, you are blessing a new bold and brave collaboration in the name of justice and love. We are celebrating!
And this has been another week where we might find ourselves stumbling toward and longing for things to be excited about, things to celebrate, am I right? I am yearning for things that make me weep not for sadness but for joy, for the incredible beauty that abounds, for the generosity that paves the way and for all of the possibilities, luring us toward something deeper.
This Pentecost story has images of a violent wind, an unbound Spirit, being filled, the heat of flames. It recalls and references with intensity the creative work of the Divine in the book of Genesis, offering another sort of creation story, this time-not the genesis of the world, but of the church.
So we are celebrating today Urban Sanctuary San Jose on Pentecost. In the Christian tradition Pentecost is a “foundational theological event for the church” as it tells a story of God busting through and “indwelling” the people. As the story goes, the Holy Spirit makes it possible for people across all kinds of categories and fragments to come together in the name of something deeper to build and live Beloved Community. Today we are celebrating living Pentecost here and now.
Community members shared…
This origin story is rich and because today we are celebrating this new collaboration, of a spiritual community that values both the Wisdom found in the ancient and the present, perhaps this story points out what is possible when we are willing just be open to wild ideas right here and now. Perhaps it asks us to remember once again what is required for new to break through…
But here’s the thing I have learned as spiritual entrepreneur- as a faithful fool who set out to start a new thing, allowing your heart, your life, your journey to be infused by something bigger than you, some dream so wide you cannot do it alone, when you allow that something else to bust through, that’s when the good stuff comes, that’s transformation, that’s what happens when we risk discomfort to experience something Transcendent, something to be in awe of here and now.
So it seems to me that Pentecost is indeed a “foundational theological event for the church” but not just because it tells a story of God busting through and “indwelling” the people, or because it is “a flesh inbreaking” or that everyone could speak and be heard, but also because it reminds us who we are.
This story in the book of Acts cannot be separated from the Jewish text in the book of Leviticus which gives very detailed instructions for how to prepare for the feast of Pentecost. You should bring grain and bread for God and for everyone. At the end of the Pentecost Party instructions it reads, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.”
This story reminds us who we are: We are a people who work for a world where everyone has enough. We are a people who praise and party. We are descendants of visionaries and dreamers. We are a people who welcomes wonder and awe.
According to D Mark Davis a more accurate translation of that first line of the Pentecost Story in the Book of Acts is: And in the fulfilling the day of the Pentecost, all were together at the same. Or maybe it’s more like what many commentaries point do but don’t say: When the day of Pentecost had come, they went all in together.
They agreed that the visions they each held separately could only be manifest fully if they went all in together. They committed to investing in new dreams, dreams there were too wide for any of them to do on their own. They decided that even when it was disruptive, allowing their ways of speaking and hearing to be expanded, would lead to transformation.
What a gift to be celebrating with all of you, on this Pentecost we are living, that reminds us who we are. This is what happens when we go all in, risking discomfort to experience something Transcendent, something to be in awe of here and now, a new genesis story.
 Donald McKim in Feasting on the Word
 Donald McKim in Feasting on the Word
 Kristin Emery Saldine in Feasting on the Word