A story tells of an 18th century Eskimo who lived in a remote village miles from anything resembling civilization. On a visit to a trading post general store he saw, an electric light bulb which had just been installed in the general store. He was amazed when he saw the store owner reach up, pull on a string and instantly the room filled with light. The Eskimo was so impressed that he bought a light bulb, a light fixture and some wire.
He installed the fixture on a wooden post inside his house, attached the wire to the fixture, screwed in the light bulb and invited his neighbors to come to his home and watch him perform a miracle at sunset When everyone had gathered the Eskimo reached up and pulled on the string. …………… Nothing happened because it wasn’t hooked up to a source of power!
The Holy Spirit is the source of power which transformed those first apostles and disciples into witnesses for Christ who gladly risked and willingly gave their lives to preach Jesus Christ to the world. How different those first Christians were on Pentecost Sunday compared to Good Friday.
Amidst the chaos created by our former Bishop, it is easy for us to be discouraged and depressed, feeling beat upon and betrayed, embarrassed, angry, and hurt. What church needs today more than ever is the power of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church at Pentecost. It seems to me we need to change our way of thinking in at least two ways.
First, we need to realize that being a true Christian means more than keeping commandments. Discipleship comes from knowing Christ so we can say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 ) Christianity is not simply something we do, but God does in and through us. Where did our Bishop go wrong? He went through the motions and didn’t stay connected to God. He got lost. When we go through the motions and don’t stay connected with God, we get lost, too. Remember our faith is in God and need not rise or fall because of any person whatsoever. Our faith is in “Jesus Christ — the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Second, we have to understand that being a true follower of Jesus Christ is just as much about transformation as it is about salvation. Some people wrongly think that Christianity is ONLY about being saved. They can tell you the day and time they were saved. I tell them I was saved the day Jesus died on the Cross. Discipleship is about having abundant life in Christ through the Holy Spirit. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in Heaven.” One spiritual writer puts it this way, “We are to grow in holiness, and be salt and light in a tasteless and dark world. We are to become transformed on a daily basis, through the spiritual disciplines, and then become agents of transformation in the world.”
Saint Catherine of Siena famously promised: “Be who God wants you to be and you will set the world on fire.” A light bulb is useless without a fixture and power source. A Christian is worthless without the Holy Spirit.
Get and stay connected.
Be and stay transformed.
Afterward, post script, epilogue — On behalf of the great majority of imperfect deacons, priests, and bishops, I want you to say, “I am sorry for sinful behavior of the clergy. There is no excuse whatsoever. I apologize for the suffering of victims and their families. I am sorry for the cover up, the silence, and the scandal.”