John Lawson's Weekly Blog
This Sunday just past the church marked Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit, promised by Christ, descended on a large group of followers of Jesus. It marked the birth of the Church. What was extraordinary was that this Holy Spirit came to all – men, women, old, young and to all backgrounds and races. No discrimination.
The theologian, Harvey Cox, suggested the church in the 21stCentury is finally entering into the Age of the Spirit. We are finally leaving behind the old fixation with correct beliefs and arguments over doctrine to embrace again the life and mission and hope of Jesus and to have an experience of God, first hand.
The contrast between his old and new church was perfectly captured for me at the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan the day before Pentecost. The setting, the Royal Chapel at Windsor Castle, epitomized the beauty but also the marriage of the church and the power of the state. But that space was invaded – or at least it must have seemed so by some – with a Black Choir and a spirit-filled Black American Archbishop, Rev. Michael Curry. Anglicanism, is a branch of Christianity formed by a decree of King Henry Vlll, exported around the world through imperial power, heard and embraced by those oppressed by Empire – especially slaves – now coming back into that very centre of power with its own fresh and challenging message. It was a Holy Spirit moment. Anembodied message that love is the way. The way to transform the world. The way of hope in the world.
Just like that first Pentecost, some scoffed. A revival sermon in Windsor Castle before the elite of the world? Or a message that saw a deeper truth in that marriage celebration of two young people – one from the pinnacle of privilege, the other from a bi-racial marriage in gritty LA – who dream of a life together that is more than celebrity but rather making a difference in the world for the better. Love seeking a new way.
Another sign, I pray, that the Church is being broken open by the Holy Spirit. Rediscovering our mission that love is the way and we are to live it. I pray that we will have the ears to hear, especially from those on the margins, who come and preach a message of love to those of us who for too long think we know it – or even worse, think we own it. But he Good News comes again – that Love is the Way.