One of the great benefits of being Anglican is making use of the liturgical calendar which both gives us the opportunity to highlight all the most important aspects of Christianity throughout the year and prevents us from focusing only on those aspects we like the most! A downside to the liturgical calendar is that if we’re not careful, we can move from one liturgical season to the next without thinking much about the last one until it comes back around the following year.
Hopefully, you just had a glorious Pentecost Sunday, for example, both proclaiming and experiencing the empowerment of the Church with the Holy Spirit. But now, we will quickly turn our focus to Trinity Sunday and then to the “liturgical” season we all know as “Summer” with vacations and often a general slowdown of the Church’s life. Then, it’s on to Fall programs, and the next thing you know it’s time to plan Advent and Christmas again. Pentecost fades away in our minds until it comes back next year. I may be exaggerating a little, but I think you understand my point.
The importance and necessity of Pentecost is not something we can let fade to the background throughout the year. The constant presence and power of the Holy Spirit is essential to the Church’s missional effectiveness. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”(NIV) It’s through the Holy Spirit in us that we remain in Jesus and bear much fruit. If we choose not to remain in him, filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit, we’ll get dried up and fruitless in our efforts for his Kingdom.
A couple of months ago, I was struck by the concept of remaining filled with the Holy Spirit in terms of staying hydrated. I wrote about it here. Maybe it’s because I’m a cyclist and cycling is an endurance sport. Staying hydrated is essential for doing it well. I ride with a group of guys who are strong riders and will “drop” (which means “leave behind”) anyone who can’t keep up. Knowing this, I’m always mindful of my need to drink water daily, even more the day before and the morning of the bike ride, and more during the ride. When I do that, I’m usually strong myself and capable of dropping others! When I don’t drink enough water, I struggle. To be clear, it’s not enough to hydrate just before and during the ride. To remain strong, remaining hydrated has to be a daily goal.
It’s often said that ministry is a marathon not a sprint. Leading a church to fulfill its mission in this world for Jesus’ sake has always been a work of endurance, but it seems even more so in today’s culture. The way Christians stay “hydrated” for this important work is through staying filled with the Holy Spirit or drinking daily of the living water. Jesus described it this way in John 7:37-39:
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)
Of course, the Spirit was given on Pentecost and has been expanding the Kingdom of God by working through believers ever since! As you and your church are coming off of another Pentecost Sunday, how can you continue to remain hydrated yourselves? How can you keep replenishing your lives and ministries with the Holy Spirit in an ongoing way? Waiting until next Pentecost to emphasis the importance of his presence and power while working hard on his mission all year will leave you dried up and fruitless.
While Pentecost is fresh on our minds, we want to remind you that the AAC’s Anglican Revitalization Ministries was formed by Anglicans who are passionate about equipping church leaders with proven and practical resources to help them bring their church towards a renewed passion for Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what is most needed to fulfill our mission in the world today!
One of those practical resources is Renew, a weekend renewal conference held in a local church that provides the church and its leaders with a fresh outpouring of living water. Then, they will be better able to run the race set before them with endurance as they stay hydrated in the Holy Spirit.
As your church comes out of the grueling past year with a need to maintain momentum, it would be a great time to schedule a Renew Conference weekend for your congregation. You can email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call about this great resource for you church before the tyranny of the urgent and the next liturgical season takes over, and Pentecost fades to the back of our minds.