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Churching: Visions of the Young, Dreams of the Old

This June, we celebrate Pentecost (some years it falls in May), marking the fiftieth and final day of Eastertide. While we celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the Church on Pentecost.

In the Pentecost story (Acts 2), people from many nations and different cultures converged upon Jerusalem, speaking different languages, and through the power of the Holy Spirit they were able to communicate and understand one another. They also took care of all those who had need and addressed food insecurity. The Church was born.

Ever since, celebrating Pentecost for the Church has been more than a day, more than a season even, but a style of life- a way, some might say, that comes out of the resurrected Christ. You see, we celebrate the birth of the Church, by being the Church.

Churching (being Church), as the Pentecost story tells us, is undertaking the meaningful work of connecting with those whom we normally wouldn’t understand, much less communicate with, due to ethnic, societal, cultural or linguistic boundaries and norms. Church is about transgressing those boundaries for the purpose of unity and Gospel. Crossing borders and traversing boundaries for abundant life is what we celebrate on Pentecost. That’s what Spirit urges of us.

Did you know that Hayward, CA is the third most linguistically diverse city in the entire country? According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Hayward actually has more ethno-linguistic diversity than New York City. We’re the heart of the Bay! When we intentionally enter into intercultural relationships, we’re fulfilling “the dreams of the old and the visions of the young” as Luke writes in Acts, quoting the prophet Joel. Right here in Hayward, salvation is for all. Think of this in your daily interactions with others, especially when you speak a different language than them. Have the mindset of “Everyday I’m Churching it!” Unity amid diversity was once a thing of dreams. Partner with God in making realities out of the visions and dreams that the prophets of old and the youth of Pentecost held for our cities, our nations, and our world, so that they become on Earth as they are in Heaven. So let’s celebrate, Church!