I've got your back - Reflections 6-5-2022

Texts for Sunday June 5, 2022
Pentecost Sunday

I’ve got your back.

That’s what Jesus had been telling his disciples for a while. In today’s Gospel, he tells them that when he leaves …the Holy Spirit… will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:26

I’ve got your back.

I love the Pentecost story found in Acts 2. In the chapter before it, the disciples stood staring into the sky watching Jesus ascend. Now Luke describes a spectacular entrance for the promised Holy Spirit with spectacular results. Wind, fire, and understanding. Whoosh! All the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit – you could say that they were "on fire" with the Spirit. I've got your back as they  faced the crowd before them and started to tell them, each in their own language, of God's immense love.

This action of the Holy Spirit affirms the Creator's love for diversity. That crowd of mixed races and ethnicities heard in a way they could understand that G
od speaks to each one of us and loves each one of us no matter our origins, language, or life path. And promises to have our backs.

The early Church began on Pentecost.  The Church continued to grow in that vision of unity in diversity. Later, parts of the Church began to back off that vision and started to categorize and sort people dividing them between who was in and who was out. The Church today is still working to get back to that Pentecost vision in big public ways and in the hallways and pews of congregations. “Welcome to all” is still out of reach many places. 

But I’ve got your back is still here. Little pockets of welcome and little places of diversity are starting to grow in number. The Holy Spirit’s message is not dead.

This is my last blog for this website. I retire from Gloria Dei this Sunday, June 5. I chose the Day of Pentecost to be the last day in my career because this story vividly shows that God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit says I’ve got your back to each and all of God’s beloved children. Every day. Even for those who live hate and division and violence. I've got your back blows in with the wind of hope that God’s way is possible.

Gloria Dei is a bit sad that I am leaving. I have been there for around 14 years and walked with them through some challenging and sorrowful times. We are on the “other side” of that time now. But God’s Spirit drew us together to support each other. God assures us that I’ve got your back. And here we are, moving forward.

I’m a bit sad I’m retiring. I love being a deacon; I love working at Gloria Dei. I have no idea what I’m going to do after this, but Pentecost reminds me that God whispers I’ve got your back as I walk out those doors for the last time.

Watch this space. Other thoughts may appear.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. God's got your back!

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245