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St. James' Glastonbury
Episcopal Church

Rev Don Hamer message May 24, 2023

Dear Siblings in Christ:

How should we celebrate the birthday of the Church? When we welcome officially three new members of the Body of Christ this Sunday, what exactly are we welcoming them into?

First of all, on a personal note, thank you for your prayers as I went through my cardiac adventure last weekend. As Gayle Kataja noted, my heart ran several marathons over the weekend. Thanks go out to the Manchester EMT and the Glastonbury Volunteer Ambulance staff, and the doctors and staff at Hartford Hospital emergency and cardiology units for their excellent care.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, historically known in Anglican circles as “Whitsunday” (or “White Sunday in reference to the white robes traditionally worn by those about to be baptized). It is traditionally understood as “The birthday of the Church.’ It is the longest season of the liturgical year, extending all the way to Advent at the end of November. And the focus in our lectionary for this season is – ta-daa! – What it means to be “church.” During this season, we are reminded of how the first Christians gradually came to an understanding of what “life after Jesus” looked like, and how they were to follow in the work that He began during his lifetime. Their work, with each emerging new situation and evolution in society, and from one society to another, was to figure out what it meant to follow in the life and teachings of Jesus in a world that does not stand still.

Christianity is at a crossroads – a crossroads that is actually being played out in our wider society. We can decide whether “the church” is a vehicle by which we are spiritually strengthened to meet the challenges of following the actual life and teachings of Jesus in the 21st century (or, what Jesus would do if he were walking among us today), or whether we will become a spiritual relic frozen in time. What kind of church do we need to be to nurture these young children we are about to baptize into a Christian adulthood?

Have a blessed week. I hope to see you on Sunday – don’t forget to wear some red!

Your brother in Christ, Don+