COVID Ordinary Time
“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.”
Eucharistic Prayer D, BCP 374
These last couple of weeks I’ve been pondering, perhaps more than usual, the role of the Holy Spirit in ‘our lives at home’ during COVID-19, in receiving God’s good gifts to us, and in returning our gifts to God and our neighbors for the sake of God’s work in the world.
Episcopalians don’t often talk about the Holy Spirit. Yet in the liturgical calendar that orders the church year, the whole long season from Pentecost Sunday until Advent has been a celebration of the life of the Spirit. The lectionary, or calendar of biblical readings for the church year, simply calls it “The Season After Pentecost.” Having celebrated all the major feast days of the church year between Advent and Pentecost, we have these long months of late spring, summer, and fall to live into a community that has been given God’s “own first gift for those who believe,” the Holy Spirit—“that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us.” Whether or not we are conscious of it, the Holy Spirit is interwoven in everything we believe as Christians.
This is why the long “Season After Pentecost” begins where it does, with the celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the small, divided, fearful and timid group of Jesus’s followers following the crucifixion. It was when they recognized Christ’s living, spiritual presence with them, that the most challenging work was in front on them. Thus for Christians the enduring presence of the Holy Spirit is both the divine gift that calls the community of the church into being and the source of our ability to be givers of gifts that are pleasing in God’s sight.
The Holy Spirit is the gift of life, which God desires us to have in all its abundance. Yet the Holy Spirit is a gift that reminds us that life is lived in all its abundance only when we do not try to keep it for ourselves, yet allow our lives to be filled with opportunities for giving to others.
Holy Cross Parish, what does this mean to you individually and corporately? We have months in front of us to dive deeply into this season, in ways that this particular ‘days like these’ are providing us. NLJ+