Pastor Adrienne - October 31, 2023
Last week I had the opportunity to attend our Synod’s Fall Convocation at Camp Lutheridge in Arden, NC. As an annual event, it is a time for rostered ministers in North Carolina to gather, learn, and receive needed information on matters that pertain to the synod and our respective congregations. It is always a good time to go to the beautiful mountains, see colleagues and friends, and hear an academic perspective on an emerging topic.
This year our speaker was The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery. He is the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Professor of Homiletics and African and African American Studies. He spoke about his most recent book Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race. Through narration and song, he brought us to a powerful place of insight into the pain and faith of the African American psyche that composed the spirituals that we sing today. His insight carried through to the violence against people of color today showing how the racialization of people could and should give way to humanization.
Becoming human. It sounds like it shouldn’t be so hard, right?
It can be though. In our daily lives, how many things cut off our ability to be human? How many things undermine our expression, interactions, development, relationships, and well-being? Even in the area of giftedness, there are skills, experiences, and abilities that we do not quite know how to incorporate into the greater good. There are so many ways that we fit ourselves and others in boxes according to expectations and dynamics that are larger than ourselves.
Dr. Powery reminded us of a different story. If we look to Acts 2, we go to the charter story of the Church. On that day of Pentecost, the disciples were gathered, and they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit! In that first in-filling of the Spirit, all bodies, all tongues, all languages were vehicles of the Spirit! Languages of all kinds were spoken proclaiming the message of Jesus! Difference was a vehicle for sharing the message so that all could hear the saving Word of God.
The Holy Spirit continues to call us forward to become more human. It may be something that we are always striving toward, just like in our faith lives, we strive to live as faithfully as we can, by the grace of God. We may never fully “arrive”, but the striving makes all the difference. As we approach Reformation Sunday and All Saints Sunday, it is a timely reminder of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in everyone we meet.