During this time of social distancing you may wish to use this scripture meditation for an e-conference small group or alone as a personal devotion. Give yourself the time to process the changes you are facing and the care you require.
We are entering a new stage of the global pandemic management. Are you ready to take that next step?
With gradual, careful planning, we will likely be allowed more social engagement. “Bubble buddies” and face masks will be our next new normal. It is becoming clear, however, that most people do not want to return to the old normal. Survey after survey says people prefer a more paced, less environmentally destructive lifestyle that allows for greater global equity.
Before we plunge into the ecstasy of reconnecting—amplified by the warmth and lushness of the greening Spring—let’s take just one more moment to pause, breathe and consider:
- Do you know what “new normal” you are being called into?
- What changes must you make to ensure this new normal becomes a reality?
- Who empowers you to make these changes?
As you open that upper room door and are momentarily blinded by the rush of light, recall, commit and then step…
Beginning of the meeting
Quiet your thoughts, still your body, and be open to Jesus who meets us in the reading of scripture.
Acts 2:1-7, 14-21 New Revised Standard Version
2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you are in an e-conference, reflect on each question for a few moments in silence, then invite discussion. Help the group identify common themes and issues. If you are alone, you may wish to record your reflections in a journal. You may wish to share your thoughts, questions and insights in the “reply” space below.
- What prophecies, visions and dreams do you have for the post-COVID future?
- What practical next steps do you need to take? Who will hold you accountable and how will you ensure those next steps are taken?
- Trying to make change without the power of the Holy Spirit has been compared to crossing the ocean in a sailboat with only your breath to fill the sail. How does this metaphor relate to your experience?
Invite the people into a time of prayer. Ask them to quiet their minds and bodies and become aware of God presence and love.
Play a piece of music that speaks to the promised empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Suggestion: Veni, Sancte Spiritus, Taizé, Music of Unity and Peace, Berthier, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D866MGVFA2o>
Prayer for the empowering of the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Light a candle. (Please remember to be careful and never leave it unattended). Set a timer for at least five minutes and pray the centering prayer using “Come, Holy Spirit” as your sacred phrase.
Focusing on the questions above, adjust your Rule of Life for the changes you are being called to make.
We are here together and we can do this because Christ dwells within us.