“Change” is something of a dirty word in the Church. The phrase “We’ve always done it that way” holds more power than many doctrines ever have.

I’m not exactly sure why that is. Maybe it’s because we want the Church to mirror an unchanging, eternal God. Maybe it’s because we want to ensure that our church will remain a familiar home we can return to in times of need.

At Bethesda, our craving for stability may be particularly acute now, as we anticipate the departures of Father James and Father Burl, and as we begin with cautious hope to feel our way out of more than a year of pandemic precautions. So much is changing. It can make the ground feel unsteady under our feet.

But as we approach the feast of Pentecost on Sunday, we should also remember that change has been a part of the Church’s life from the very beginning. On that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’s first followers. They found that day a clarity and an inspiration that enabled them to change everything, to leave their homes, to preach the Gospel without fear. The promise of Pentecost is that the Holy Spirit is with us still, and will sustain and support us through whatever comes.

So on this Pentecost, let us celebrate what we have. Let us grieve what we have lost. And let us pray in the words of the prayer book, “that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found.”

The Rev. Margaret McGhee
Associate for Stewardship and Digital Ministry