Holy Flames

Watching the news in our time can be a frightening and depressing activity. There are times when it seems as if the world is headed backwards, into chaos and death, rushing headlong into disaster.
The situation seems hopeless; as hopeless as dry bones bleaching on the desert. Look at problems of the world, of Burlington, of Zion church, or the problems of our own lives, and think- dead, very dry, dusty; hopeless. Nothing that can be done here. We look and see only dead.
And then God comes along; and the Spirit of life blows through, and we see life. Others around us can see it, and understand it too. Nothing we did differently, but somehow, the presence of God becomes tangible among us. The Divine wind—the spirit of God brings hope where there was no hope; life where there could not be life.
That ragtag band of Jesus followers found they had been given an amazing gift, to be able to be understood by such divergent cultures. It was a gift given SO THAT the believers could share their story. God had been generous, theirs was to pass on that generosity, not try to cling to it for themselves. They told their stories, and thousands listened. And in spite of persecution, deportation, dungeon, fire, and sword, the message took root, and grew, and spread throughout the Roman Empire, until the story has been told around the world.
And we here, are the beneficiaries.
There is still a message to be spoken, hope to be given; a Holy Spirit to be shared. God is still speaking; calling forth a new generation of followers of Jesus; who overcome the death knells of negative publicity, who speak a word of rebuttal to small-mindedness masquerading as Christian faith. More now than ever there is a message which needs to be heard; a message which says, no matter who you are, you have a home here in the house of God; a message- no matter what you have heard elsewhere, you are precious to God.
The spirit of God is on the move in the world today; God is still speaking. Zion is listening, and responding by telling our own stories about the mighty acts of God. Zion’s voice is speaking of a God whose love extends beyond archaic boundaries. Zion’s people are looking for that window of opportunity, when they may speak a word about following Jesus without pre-conditions, without impossibly burdensome barriers.
God’s spirit is here, in a rainbow coalition of voices and faces; speaking the good news stories. Speaking truth to power, speaking the truth about a God whose welcome is without limits, whose love is for all of creation—no barriers, no entrance exam.
The Spirit is still blowing through the gathered community; and is still translating our words into understanding.
God is still speaking; we are the voice.

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