Pentecost Sunday is this Sunday, June 12 and marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples after the Resurrection. This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my pastor on Pentecost Sunday 2008.
Today, I was received into the Episcopal Church here at St. George’s. I’ve traveled a long way on my spiritual journey since that night in August 2006 when I learned I had breast cancer and God asked me if I was willing to die for Him. By nightfall, my answer was “yes”, but he responded that he “still had things that He needed me to do.”
First, I was asked to help strangers who were diagnosed with breast cancer. One year later I went on a mission trip from St. George’s to South Africa. The people I traveled with were faith-filled and gave all the credit to God for their worldly successes. The people of South Africa taught me about apartheid, forgiveness, and ubuntu. Ubuntu means we are all intertwined; I cannot succeed in this life, unless you succeed too; we are one.
Today, the wind howled with gusts over 40 miles per hour, I could feel the “rush of a violent wind” and I was “filled with the Holy Spirit”. I knew I was called to love others as Jesus loves me, and to help others to see God, just as I had learned in South Africa.
“Good evangelists are people who engage others in good conversation about important and profound topics such as faith, values, hope, meaning, purpose, goodness, beauty, truth, life after death, life before death, and God. They do this, not because they like to be experts and impose their views on others, but because they feel they are, in fact, sent by God to do so. They live with a sense of mission that their God-given calling in life is not just to live selfishly, or even just to live well, but to live unselfishly and well and to help others live unselfishly and well too. Evangelists are people with a mission from God and a passion to love and serve their neighbors. They want to change the world. Good evangelism is the process of being friendly without discrimination and influencing all of one’s friends toward better living, through good deeds and good conversations…evangelism means engaging in these conversations in the spirit and example of Jesus Christ. If you know anything about Jesus at all, you probably know that he was an amazing conversationalist. Unlike the typical evangelist-caricature of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Jesus was short on sermons, long on conversations; short on answers, long on questions; short on abstractions and propositions, long on stories and parables; short on telling you what to think, long on challenging you to think for yourself; short on condemning the irreligious, long on confronting the religious.”
Now, with the help of God, the Holy Spirit and my spiritual friends, I am answering the call to be a “good evangelist.”"
I pray that you, too, will be touched by the Holy Spirit this Sunday on Pentecost 2011 and engage others in good conversation about the good news of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Blessings, my friend,