Yesterday was the Feast of Pentecost and this year our church had more to celebrate than usual as we not only remembered the coming of the Holy Spirit and reflected on what that meant in our lives as individuals and a community but also dedicated our new wheelchair ramp (oh, the accessibility issues of a hundred year old building!), the altar cross made by a parishioner, and celebrated the J’s birth with the little service from the Book of Common Prayer called “Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child”.
We also entered that part of the church year known as Ordinary Time in which we take all that we have learned about the life of Christ during Extraordinary Time and seek to apply it in our own lives through the grace ministered by the Holy Spirit.
Several things struck me during the service:
Our priest had chosen two prayers to be used during the Thanksgiving for J:
O God, you have taught us through your blessed Son that
whoever receives a little child in the name of Christ receives
Christ himself: We give thanks for the blessing you have
bestowed upon this family in giving them a child. Confirm
their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and
give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to
bring this child to love all that is true and noble, just and
pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable,
following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
and this one, titled in the prayer book “For Parents”:
Almighty God, giver of life and love, bless Sam and Kyndra Grant
them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common
life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a
counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion
in joy. And so knit their wills together in your will and their
spirits in your Spirit, that they may live together in love and
peace all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“calm strength and patient wisdom” indeed! We surely need plenty of that as well as the ability to be companions to one another as we live out our calling as individuals and as parents. I have to think with gratitude on the men who compiled the prayer book- they surely knew what life was like and the prayers given for our use and example reflect that.
Yesterday we also switched over to a new form of The Great Thanksgiving (you can read several forms here, scroll down for Form D- the one we used yesterday). I’ve heard this plenty of times but these last two lines struck me
“To fulfill your purpose he (Jesus) gave himself up to death; and, rising
from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole
And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him
who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own
first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in
the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all.”
Particularly this ” that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us…” seems very fitting to the beginning of the time of year in which we think and work particularly on doing just that.
Finally in the congregational prayers we prayed that God would “reveal the unity of the church” to us. Not that he would make us one, but that he would open our eyes to see that we are already one despite all of our differences and the sin that so often causes us to speak poorly of and treat poorly our brethren. Again food for thought…K